PennEast has responded to the FERC scoping comments made by individuals and organizations:
PennEast’s response – FERC Generated PDF
PennEast’s response – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site
The response reads like it was written by a fifth grader who forgot their paper was due tomorrow (with all due apologies to fifth graders). It is difficult to enumerate how many things are wrong with this document, but I’ll try:
- People’s comments are lumped together by category. Instead of responding to each individual scoping document, PennEast has done a massive amount of editing and pushed everybody into buckets. There’s a water quality bucket, protected waters bucket, blasting bucket, etc. If anyone shared any unique information in their specific comments they are completely lost. This is completely outrageous.
- The comments are boilerplate and vague. For example, on the question of whether this pipeline is needed or not, PennEast says “Section of 1.1 of Resource Report 1 – General Project Description details the purpose and need of the PennEast Pipeline”. That’s it.
- There’s no detail. When people submit issues for multiple creeks, PennEast lumps it all together and says “We’ll do a study”. That is not acceptable. Before FERC should grant approval they should force PennEast to do all studies up front and prove that they will not endanger streams, will not hurt the ecology, will not damage our wells, and will not generally harm our environment and lifestyles.
- Responses are missing. Of the myriad of issues and questions I had in my FERC submission, PennEast responded to…9.
- PennEast avoids certain questions altogether. There are two separate questions on blasting – one is about PennEast blasting, another is about the pipeline running near quarries that blast – PennEast lumps the two together. And then says nothing about the quarry blasting.
- They are unwilling to move the route. They’d rather say “we’ll fix any problems we create” than “we’ll move it”. On the karst geology and sink holes – they say “don’t worry about it, our steel is high grade!”. On arsenic, they say “Hey arsenic occurs naturally, what’s the big deal? And if it contaminates anyone’s well, we’ll get them water from somewhere else, somehow”.
- They keep saying disturbances will be “temporary” in nature. Once construction is done, all will be well!!
- They keep saying they will “minimize impacts” to areas. They don’t say how, they just assert they will.
- They do bring up compensation. A lot. If we screw up your ecology, we’ll pay you. If we screw up you open spaces, we’ll pay you. If we ruin your crops we’ll pay you. If we go through your parks and endanger wild life, we’ll pay you. Listen up, PennEast. We don’t want you to pay us. We want you and your pipeline to go away.
- It’s all about convenience for PennEast. On the issue of endangered species, PennEast says “Where practicable, the pipeline route is being adjusted to avoid protected habitats”. And when it’s not practicable? Well, then, too bad.
- On the proximity to schools: “Data shows that while natural gas demand has increased, serious pipeline incidents have decreased by 90 percent over the past three decades alone, primarily as a result of significant efforts by pipeline companies to upgrade and modernize their infrastructure”. So here PennEast actually admits that accidents do happen. But it’s rare, so, yeah, we’ll be running that pipeline a few thousand feet from elementary schools anyway. And if we blow up your kids we’ll compensate you!
Go read the document yourself and be prepared to get annoyed. Really annoyed. Keep sharp objects and breakables away from your reading area just to stay safe. It’s really that bad.