PennEast’s response to FERC’s April Data Request is a train wreck

Today I filed a Motion for Leave to Answer and Answer with FERC to PennEast’s response this week to FERC’s April Data Request.

The full filing is available here:

To put it simply, PennEast’s response is a total train wreck.  They literally do everything they can to evade legitimate Federal authority and oversight, and actually tell FERC “no, we won’t tell you that!” over and over again.  It is simply unbelievable.  Here are the major points discussed:

1) The Mill Creek Corporate Center cumulative impact response was unresponsive.

PennEast tells FERC not to worry about the Mill Creek Corporate center because – get this – they did a few google searches and don’t think much is going on with it.  Yeah, that’s right.  PennEast didn’t bother to talk to the developer or the local zoning board.  Google instead was their friend.

And here we go!

2) PennEast is incorrect that they do not need to indicate purpose and need for Phase 2.

PennEast actually has the gall to say “we don’t need to evaluate Phase 2, because its the same as what we did on CP15-558”.  They literally refuse to do any purpose and need analysis for Phase 2 at all!

Clearly, PennEast needs to actually spell out the supposed need for Phase 2.  Explicitly and in detail, not with a hand wav.

3) PennEast’s assertions that they do not need a DRBC review are incorrect.

PennEast actually spends 6 pages ranting that DRBC has no jurisdiction over them.  Completely ignoring that the DRBC has already ruled they do have jurisdiction, and cited the exact area of their Rules of Practice and Procedure that require PennEast to submit an application to them.

4) PennEast’s response to Data Request 7 should be a red flag that should immediately result in a rejection of this application.

In Data Request 7, FERC asks a number of questions around feasibility of alternatives like Adelphia and Columbia pipelines, markets that Phase 1 will service, changes in volumes of gas being moved between the original Certificate and this one, the reduction of UGI’s commitment on Phase 1, the feasibility of a smaller pipe for Phase 1, and why the Hellertown Lateral is necessary given the Church Road Interconnects.10

PennEast’s response is shocking. They effectively refuse to answer any of these questions.

5) PennEast is now admitting it is building an interconnect near an active fault.

PennEast here says “whoopsie, that fault near Church Road actually is active!  Our bad”.

Yes, they want to build next to an active fault.

6) PennEast is unresponsive on Calvary Baptist Church and Mill Creek Corporate Center traffic impacts and mitigations.

Once again, PennEast thinks google is a substitute for actual research and analysis.  They say “don’t worry about that church, we figure Sunday is their big day and we won’t work on Sunday”.  Totally ignoring the fact that the church acts as a day care center and school during the week.  D’oh!

7) PennEast is unresponsive on why the Hellertown Lateral is not part of Phase 1.

This is a big one.  PennEast refuses to say why the PA-based Hellertown lateral was pushed to Phase 2.  This makes no sense, as Hellertown has nothing to do with so called “NJ Authorizations”.

However, this is an admission by UGI that they are losing economic interest in PennEast. Hellertown was going to give them half their subscription from the original project.  By not insisting on having Hellertown in Phase 1, UGI is able to skip out on 50,000 dekatherms/day commitment.

Yeah, that’s right.  PennEast’s own project manager is running away from its original commitment.  And I bet others are too.
8) PennEast fails to provide meaningful alternatives analysis in the event that Phase 1 is constructed solely.

Basically the Alternatives PennEast puts forth make no sense.  They basically say “nope, won’t work.  Sorry!”.  Interestingly, they don’t even mention shippers in their purpose and need section here.  So maybe even PennEast is backtracking on the whole 4 shipper thing….

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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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