People respond to PennEast’s anemic scoping comments

We’re starting to see individuals and organizations react to the anemic and wholly inadequate responses of PennEast to the FERC scoping comments. Joan from Hopewell, NJ writes to the FERC:

I am appalled at PennEast’s failure to address legitimate municipal and resident concerns in its recent response to scoping comments. Its cavalier attitude towards environmental, cultural, historical and geological problems is inexcusable.

I completely agree. I was in total shock when I read the PennEast’s responses. Sink holes? They’re not worried about them. They say their pipe is engineered to withstand a 100′ fall, so no worries!

Environmental concerns? They’ve got it covered, they’ll mitigate!

Pipeline going through conserved areas? Well they’ll try to route around them. As long as it’s not too inconvenient to them.

99% of their responses are like that.

In my comments, I specifically asked where the gas is intended to go. This is a very simple matter of asking all PennEast partners where they will sell the gas. There is no question that the gas will not be going to 4.7 million homes in NJ, or PA, or even NY, as PennEast keeps repeating. The US Census data is clear that it is impossible to heat 4.7 million homes when there are fewer than 4 million homes in NJ and two thirds of them already have natural gas. The PennEast partners — UGI, NJR, etc. must have knowledge of where they are selling this gas; otherwise, they would not buy gas on speculation. PennEast should tell all of us where the gas is going to be sold. There is no convenience or necessity to local residents for companies to make profits by selling gas overseas.

Without an answer to this question, there is no “necessity” and no “convenience” for FERC to grant a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. There is no benefit to mid-Atlantic residents. Yet, they will have to bear all the destruction and environmental disasters that will result from this proposal. PennEast is engaged in subterfuge and obfuscation in its answers and should be accountable to provide specific answers.

This is indeed a critical question, and one I’ve harped on as pivotal in looking at PennEast’s proposal. Their smoke screen about gas for businesses and consumers in PA and NJ is a complete fabrication. As Joan points out there is no need for this billion cubic feet of gas to flow into our state a day.

PennEast has also not accurately represented the effect of its pipeline on residents’ gas bills. Although the price of LNG is decreasing temporarily, this does not mean that residents will pay less on their bills. All PennEast partners acknowledge that they can and will pass through their infrastructure costs to its customers. On a $1 billion pipeline, customers bills will go up, not down. PennEast is misleading FERC and the public. FERC should not grant the Certificate. PennEast is not an honest and reliable source of information regarding any of its plans.

And this is the final insult. All the poor people writing that PennEast will lower their gas bills are going to be in for a rude shock if it actually comes to pass. Pipelines aren’t free, and there will be tarriffs to go over this one. And shale gas is on average more expensive to produce than conventional gas. PennEast is trying to indicate that having gas “local” is an advantage but in reality this is not true. Historically production from wells has cost more than the pipeline transmission costs. And that’s when we’re pumping it from the gulf coast.

And finally – if they export the gas flowing over PennEast, market forces will come into play. Natural gas in Asia and Europe is extremely expensive. Marcellus producers are going to naturally want to ship there. Production is rising but now we have an entirely new market as well. An expensive one. The natural market effect of this is that prices will go upslightly for everybody. And when it hits 15 degrees outside we’ll be competing for gas with Japan and India who will pay top $$$. Guess who will win?

Joan’s submission is available below:

Joan’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Joan’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

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Mike Spille

I'm a thinker, an analyzer, a synthesizer. Maybe not in that order. I live in West Amwell NJ with my wife Kristina, our two kids Day and Z, our two dogs Fern and Cinna, and three cats Ponce de Leon, Oliver, and Doolittle.

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