PennEast has been sending new sets of letters out to homeowners along the route. You may have heard about these on Facebook or elsewhere (or just might be one of the lucky ones along the proposed route!). The letters are a plea from landsman par excellence John Barenz. Mr. Barenz is a sort of super-hero at his job according to PennEast, and he’s here to help us all.
The letters themselves aren’t any different from what we’ve seen before – Mr. Barenz apparently speaks PennEastese fluently. But people noticed something very odd about the letters right away.
You see, they appear to be hand-written.
On first blush, you might consider this either a cheesy ploy to project fake warmth and personality to threatened landowners. Or you might think it is actually a nice touch. Maybe PennEast is trying to be at least a tiny bit human.
But if you compare multiple letters, then something really odd happens.
It turns out, they are hand written. But the handwriting on every letter is different. At least for the three I’ve seen. In fact, here are two of them:
What may have looked warm and personable at first now is downright creepy. We have nearly identical letters (there are a few differences in wording), but in vastly different handwriting, both signed “John Barenz”.
And I mean, the handwriting isn’t a little different. They are are utterly different in every way.
But wait, it gets even weirder! Take a look at the front of the mailings!
In the first one you’ll see that it’s addressed to a landowner on Riegelsville Road in Milford. And the return address is – Riegelsville Road in Milford! Since the writer actually attached a stamp, it means they possibly don’t want the reader to know where the message originated from.
However, the second one does have a valid return address. It’s to a flex office space in Bethlehem, PA. It used to be a wholesaler named Rade Technologies that was into sporting goods, but appears to be defunct now. In any case, both letters are postmarked from the same post office, albeit one was sent on June 1st and the other on June 6th.
It’s been speculated that both of these letters may be computer generated. I’ve seen the originals and it’s possible, there didn’t seem to be any pressure marks except for a couple of possibilities. But that’s hardly the point – whether it was two or more people using different sets of fonts, or a more sophisticated type-to-handwriting computer system, or just a pool of interns writing these out at minimum wage, it hardly matters in the end.
What matters is sending out apparently hand-written notes from some sort of super landsman which are guaranteed not to be actually hand written personal letters is just par for the course for PennEast. It’s a bit weird, a bit creepy, and it’s exactly the sort of whacky thing you’d expect from them.
Let FERC know what you think of PennEast’s on-going “community outreach” efforts like this!