This was a difficult comment to write

Today I submitted to FERC a comment that was somewhat more personal than most of mine have been. And I can tell you it was far and away the most difficult one for me to write. The full submission is available here:

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/wacapresearch/SpilleHewittRoadComment.pdf

You can find it on the FERC site as well in the usual place, I’m not going to bother to link to it because the FERC site has been even worse than usual lately. It took me several hours to get this submitted, and others have told me they’ve had similar problems.

Back to the comment. This one was difficult, because it involves the route variations around my house. And commenting about your own property to FERC puts you in a serious predicament, one that every homeowner along the route has to face.

It’s an interesting, if tragic, dilemma.  You can choose to comment that the route in your area is unfair and unfit.  And the minute you do so you’ll be branded as a “NIMBY”.  Worse, FERC might take your complaints as acceptance that the pipeline is inevitable and you’re just negotiating details.

Or you can choose not to comment on the route at all, and thereby leave a whole litany of issues undocumented and unstated on the FERC docket.

Either way you go is unacceptable, either way you’re going to be screwed somehow.

In my submission I tried to walk a fine line and get a little bit of both in.  I most likely failed, but I had to at least give it a shot.  The submission basically says the following:

  • We are fundamentally opposed to this project, and do not believe it should be approved based on its complete lack of public benefit.
  • PennEast puts every property owner in a bind who believes there is no need for the pipeline, as I describe above.
  • I go on to describe the inaccuracies of the various route variations in my area, how they are flawed and inaccurate, and tie it back to the lack of public need as making it 10x more galling than it would be for a “justified” project.
  • In our particular case, the pipeline was clearly routed for the convenience of an enormously wealthy neighbor who has contributed millions of dollars to ultra-conservative causes (she is co-founder of “Club for Growth”).  This undocumented favoritism violates the social justice mandates all NEPA reviews must go through.

As I said this is a tough comment to make.  But at the end of the day, you do have to fight for your freedoms and the freedoms of your family and loved ones.  Hopefully I’ve done that for my family without dumping this awful burden on someone else.

 

Published by

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 two cats Ponce de Leon and Xavier.

5 thoughts on “This was a difficult comment to write

  1. Mike,
    You have every right to tell it like it is.
    Straight from the heart and soul. Not to do so would be an insult to your convictions. I admire your bravery.
    Joan

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    1. Eric, thanks, yes I have a reference to this in the FERC submission near the end. It’s an astounding amount of money.

      The route in the area has changed a few times. The original route in Fall 2014 was several miles to the East and predominantly impacted Hopewell. In January 2015 the route was changed, supposed for better co-location (it’s not but that’s another story). At that point the route was the one highlighted in blue in the map in my submission. That did not go through her property. Route variations 75 and 76 were then offered by PennEast to avoid housing impacts. However, neither 75 or 76 make any sense. They appear to be purposefully impacting houses (what they are claiming to avoid with the change in the first place!).

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  2. The access road Quarry St is on the State and National Register of Historic Places and Rock Rd. “The Road Along the Rocks 1758” has been granted the same “protection” by the NJ DEP State Historic Preservation Office who issued a Certificate of Eligibility(supposedly). This is the only Colonial Road in America in untouched condition that was used in 1776 by British Gen .Cornwallic looking for boats to cross to Pa., James Monroe on route to the Battle of Trenton and by Gen. Washington with 12000 troops to Monmouth Battlefield fully documented by my wife Barbara and I in our book on this subject, second edition available soon. We have intervened and sent packets to Our State Senators Codey and Turner our Congressman Lance the SHPO and FERC documenting this and the mixed heritage Potters Field from the 1832 Asiatic Cholera Epidemic also desecrated in this process. NJ DEP SHPO could be judged as Penn East puppets with our part time Governor pulling the stings having removed this Road from the Washington Crossing State Park in Jan. 2015 weeks before the Penn East Route was issued. The main water line to Lambertville was cast about 1870 and is fragile by age and then manufacturing processes. John and Barbara Hencheck

    Liked by 1 person

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