3D Fly over of PennEast route in West Amwell

This is part of the 3D Fly over video series for the proposed PennEast pipeline routes. This post covers the West Amwell, NJ and Lambertville areas.

As with all of the videos in the series, the smokey black area is the 400′ survey corridor, the light blue areas are the temporary work spaces, and the red area is the permanent right of way.

In the West Amwell video we start at an HDD site, the large light blue block is where the HDD equipment will be drilling down into the earth. In this zone PennEast is proposing over 6,000 feet (longer than a mile) of HDDing, which is incredibly long and aggressive. Doubly so when you consider it’s all very hard bedrock in this area.

This means if the HDD fails, all of this pristine land will be open trenched, including the Alexauken Creek. At about 39 seconds in you see the exit point for the HDD, and the Lambertville connector peeling off to the left to go to the Lambertville compressor station.

At the 50 second mark, as we approach Route 179, you can see the Hunterdon South Branch Library building on the far side of the street (second large building out from the pipeline route).

It proceeds to open trench through several pieces of farm land.

At 1:37 the Swan Creek Reservoir starts to slide into view on the left, and you can see the pipeline more than doubling the existing power line cut (in fact going up and down ridges), creating more erosion issues into Swan Creek. Right after that you can see the poor houses on Old Route 518 West who have the construction 10′ from their houses.

At the 2:00 mark, it diverges from the power lines and cuts up a steep and heavily wooded slope to the highest point on Goat Hill. This is the area documented with over 80 old hand-dug quarry holes going back to the 17th-18th century which today act as vernal pools. Many endangered salamander species have been documented as laying eggs in these pools, many of which will be destroyed by the pipeline construction and are barely mentioned in the DEIS.

After it crosses Hewitt Road you swing by my house (Hi!), it cuts through a bunch more pristine wetlands areas owned by my neighbor, and than at 2:21 it impinges directly upon the Goat Hill Natural Heritage Priority Site for no apparent reason. As with Gravel Hill, this is a special NJDEP designation for an exceptional and rare ecosystem.

It proceeds to cut through a couple of farms here, then swings a bit to the East to start going towards Baldpate Mountain and Hopewell township.

Next time someone says “co-location” to you, show them this video series

One of PennEast’s favorite ploys when talking about their proposed pipeline route is how painstakingly they worked to “co-locate” the route.   Co-location generally means putting the route along an existing utility corridor, under the theory that the corridor has already damaged the environment, so you might as well stick more utilities there rather than push through an alternative greenfield route.

Of course, those of us who have looked at the route in detail know it’s not actually co-located.  And that, in fact,  much of it is in fact green field routes through steep slopes, preserved farmland, and pristine, beautiful properties.  But sometimes it’s hard to convince people of the facts.

To help show people the truth behind PennEast’s routing choices, I’m preparing 3D videos of the route through Google Earth.  This shows the reality of the route as proposed to PennEast’s marketing spin.

First up is the route just as it crosses the Delaware River and comes into the Holland, NJ area.

The large smokey gray area is the 400′ wide survey corridor. The light blue areas are the proposed temporary construction spaces (on top of the existing 100′ clear-cut construction zone, not shown here), and finally the 50′ wide permanent easement.

The route here is through some of the most ecologically sensitive in the state of NJ. Here we see routing along the Milford bluffs, and going right through the Gravel Hill Natural Heritage Priority Site. “Natural Heritage Priority Site” is a special designation by the NJDEP for the most critical and unique eco systems in the state.

You see the pipeline going up and down steep slopes everywhere. You see pristine farm land and wooded areas that will be slashed down to the bare earth. You see the true extent of devastation this project will cause.

But funny, one thing I don’t see here is co-location.