PennEast: We care about cultural issues…well, not really, unless we’re federally mandated to

PennEast loves to make rah-rah noises about how they’re an awesome company who cares about everything and everybody, and will make the world a better place.  They’re here to ensure all our lives are better.  Thanks to PennEast our puppies will be puppier, our kittens more kittenish, the sun will shine 382 days a year, we’ll never have another bad hair day, Krispy Kremes will be cease to be fattening, and we’ll all pay $1.82 a year in heating and electric costs a year.  Because yeah – they’re THAT good.

And they really care about the environment.  And our rich historical heritage.  And the cultural institutions who have collectively made us all who we are today.

That is – that care about those things when they’re mandated to by the federal government.  When the government doesn’t mandate it – well, then a different PennEast comes out altogether.

We see this side today, when PennEast says “no puppier-puppies for the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation”.


The September 2015 monthly status report came out from PennEast, the last one for pre-filing.  It’s available here:

At the end they address new issues that have come up on the docket. One of them was a very serious issue brought up by the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation. Here’s PennEast’s response to them:

The NHPA requirements for consultation with Indian tribes do not extend to Indian tribes not recognized by the United States. Both the statute and the Section 106 regulations define “Indian tribe” to cover only those “recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.” The Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation is a state recognized tribe in New Jersey but is not recognized by the federal government.

As a result, FERC is not required under the NHPA to consult with the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation confirms this in its 2012 handbook on consulting with Indian tribes.

For those who don’t know, the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation was a federally recognized tribe, but somehow they lost their recognition due to some technicality in the federal bureacracy. They’re still recognized by New Jersey State, and they’re fighting to get their federal recognition back.

So PennEast notes that because they’re not federally recognized at this moment, statutes give them the full ability to thumb their nose at them.

And that’s exactly what PennEast is going to do. As a bonus, they advise FERC to do the same.

So there you go. PennEast is the loving, caring thoughtful company who wouldn’t dream of screwing people over – that is, at least the people who federal law says they can’t screw over. If you’re not on the fed’s list, you’re fair game.

FYI – The Ramapough Lenape Nation’s web site is available below for those curious about them.

P.S. PennEast won’t go through people’s backyards either. Except, er, when they 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.

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