West Amwell Township responds to PennEast’s boilerplate scoping replies

I’m immensely proud of the political leadership in my town of West Amwell. The elected and designated officials of our town have been fighting against PennEast from the beginning, and their focus and dedication on this issue has been relentless.

Our town’s pipeline committee has seen PennEast’s ridiculous boilerplate replies to the scoping comments, and has submitted a very detailed document of all of the things PennEast missed.

The committee’s response is available here, and is signed by Cathy Urbanksi, Chair of the West Amwell Pipeline Committee, and George Fisher, mayor.

Here’s a link to the FERC alternate site in case the main one above is down.

It mentions the National Heritage Priority Site on Goat Hill that PennEast missed.

The specific, unique reasons lands have been preserved in the Sourlands that PennEast did not address.

The details of our C1 water ways and drinking water situation that PennEast ignored.

Our township officials have had to educate PennEast on the realities of blasting in hard diabase bedrock. Earth to PennEast – shaped charges do not mitigate vibration in bedrock. Shaped charges in fact focus more of the blast into the diabase. Our concerns do not consider just debris from blasting (although this is important). Our concerns relate the fact that diabase is a highly efficient medium for conducting blast waves, and that those waves can collapse the fissures in the bedrock that we rely on for our wells.

On these and many more points our township committee has had to educate and chastise PennEast for it’s woefully inadequate response.

They close with this summary:

The scoping period was “to solicit comments on the scope of the environmental review for the Project from interested stakeholders.”

West Amwell Township spent considerable time and resources preparing the scoping comments and expressing our specific concerns. It appears that they were ignored or just not read by PennEast. It is not possible for PennEast to prepare a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement when the scoping period comments were mostly disregarded.

Of the comments that PennEast did respond to, most did not address specific issues and concerns. They were boilerplate and stock responses. The “interested stakeholders” were treated very unfairly and not in accordance with the regulations:

“Pursuant to Section 157.21(f)(9) of the Commission’s regulations, 18 C.F.R. § 157.21(f)(9) (2014), PennEast submits, in Appendix A hereto, its response to comments posted to the above-referenced docket.”

Lest I offend the other towns along the pipeline route by over doing it with West Amwell, let me hurry to say that opposition against the pipeline has been unanimous in NJ, and has been swelling in PA for some months, and the level of detail and commitment in those towns has been simply outstanding overall. I keep thinking back to the scoping meeting in Hampton, NJ where the mayor of Kingwood Township stood up for his comments and basically raked PennEast over the coals, demanding the company guarantee drinking water for every single resident in his town for a decade or more after construction.

If you’re in one of those towns that hasn’t passed a resolution in opposition of PennEast, send them links to comments like these. Show them what a united front of townships up and down the route can do.

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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.

One thought on “West Amwell Township responds to PennEast’s boilerplate scoping replies

  1. Great work !!!
    What can I do to help ? I’m a Lambertville resident living on Cottage Hill, just a block away from Goat Hill road with a well.


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