Emma sent a powerful message to the FERC with her comments, linked here:
Emma’s Story – FERC Generated PDF
The power of the story really comes from the pictures – the many generations of her family that have enjoyed a pond that PennEast is now threatening. The words to accompany those images:
The pain that this pipeline will cause is unimaginable.
It will endanger wildlife and environments that this family has struggled through generations to preserve. We have worked so hard to hang on to this land and ensure it’ existence. Penn East proposes to annhialate it.
This wetland and pond has been protected for five generations. It originally belonged to my great grandmother, Helen Henderson. Depicted here at THIS pond is my grandmother, Jane Henderson, my brother Dan Macy, my sister,Cara Redmond and me, Emma Angele Switzler, as children, my mother Vaughana Feary as a child with her goats, and my own children, Brant and Alexandra Switzler ice skating on the same pond. My children are now old enough to have children of their own. I am BEGGING you not to destroy my legacy to them and their children!!
Stephanie of Brook hollow farms tells the FERC about the farms and preserved lands her family owns and how the pipeline is going to destroy them:
Stephanie’s comments – FERC Generated PDF
The whole first paragraph is worth repeating here:
We are located in a historic, agricultural and rural federally designated district. It was selected for this designation for its bucolic beauty and history. All the preserved farms and open space in Delaware Township didn’t happen by chance. Locals have been actively and persistently preserving for 50 years to keep this place one of NJ’s crown jewel in its undisturbed shape. My family put my 250 acre farm into farmland preservation & conservation land so it would remain the same in inperpetuity. My sister and I live here with our families and continue their conservation efforts. This land was conserved for the public and not for corporate profit. My parents donated land along the Wickecheoke Creek as a public walking path and the local people have been working to expand that to protect the creek corridor and allow the public to enjoy the woods and creek. Your pipeline goes right thru it. My township has spent decades working to preserve land here and many of us have given a lot of money to do this or taken discounts on land put in preservation. We did not devote all our time and energy so Penn East could destroy that resource. How are you going to mitigate for that? Do you think anyone will want to preserve land now? You have opened the door to increased suburbanization around here which will cost our township its rural character as well as make our tax dollars soar. How do you mitigate?
Not only is my farm protected but the whole view shed will be forever changes.
She also comments on an issue I’m deeply concerned about, the placement of the pipeline on very steep slopes. We have a lot of slopes in this entire region and clearing them is known to cause all sorts of bad, long term issues. Stephanie says:
I also have environmental and farmland concerns:
The massive erosion and sedimentation on my steep sloped forest land. The purposed pipeline goes thru wet lands as well on my property. Your standards are so low and unsuited to this kind of landscape. I have seen the photos on the Delaware River keeper webpage of the 300 line in PA which in places has been replanted three times with no success. The damage extends far beyond the ROW. The same with the Highlands line which has eroded down to bedrock in places. What recourse do we have when it doesn’t work? Can you direct me to even one new pipeline site on a steep formerly forested slope that is an example of what you will do here? All I can find are failed examples
You can access the FERC comments area by going to their eLibrary here:
Select “General Search”, then “Filed Date during previous 1 years”, then put in Docket Number “PF15-1-” (exactly like that!). What you’ll get from this search is all the documents filed with the FERC including required filings by Penn East, protest letters and letters of support.
Some of the filings may surprise you. Going into this I expected the usual suspects to show up – various politicians, rabid eco fanatics, people yelling the government stealing from them yet again, and people with little better to do then to post things on government web sites all day.
What I saw instead was a tsunami of concerned citizens voicing their objections in well-reasoned, and sometimes heartbreaking, prose. Couples pleading to keep their farm off the route. Historical preservation societies high lighting revolutionary war sites in the path of the pipeline. Wives describing their husbands’ stupendous flower garden built over a life time that will be devastated by this work. Park officials detailing the effects of clearing wide lands on steep slopes. Rural residents who survive off wells worried their drinking water could be poisoned.
I’m highlighting those documents that really spoke to me. If you know of any good ones I’ve missed please let me know and I”ll get them posted here.
We’ll start with this one, a West Amwell resident who tells us about the Mount Airy Historic district and what this pipeline will do it and her property:
FERC Generated PDF