Farmland owned for seven generations threatened by the pipeline

Harriet and Charlie from Sergeantsville NJ own a famous farm in Hunterdon county. They write:

My mother and I own 2 farms at 722 and 740 on route 604, in Rosemont, NJ. Ours were the first 2 farms to go into farmland preservation in the state. The Fisher family has lived here for 7 generations. Our two farms have around 200 acres of farmed land which is part of a remarkably beautiful farmscape comprising the Rosemont Valley. Our farm is designated to have the Penn East pipeline going right through it. It has been photographed for the Hunterdon phone book cover, state maps, Somerset/Hunterdon/Mercer Atlas, the county brochure and there is a huge photograph of it as a mural on the lobby wall of the Hunterdon Medical Center Hospital. Artists have painted our farm hundreds of times. This view has appeared on many places of honor exactly because of its unspoiled and quickly vanishing old fashion farm/agrarian appeal. The pipeline will be going right through the most beautiful rural and farming vista in the county and thus spoiling this beautiful farmscape. This pipeline undoes 50 years of all the conservation efforts which have gone into saving this federally designated historic and rural Rosemont Valley.

The fishers wanted to preserve these farms and this way of life. It was a monetary sacrifice because we could have subdivided and sold building lots for much profit but instead we saved our farms and open space for all future generations. We certainly did not do this so a pipeline could go through it!
The Audubon bird society comes regularly to monitor the birds on our farm. We have endangered grassland birds because we initiated a federal program for grassland birds these pass 10 years. We have planted grasses specifically for these birds and protect their nesting grounds as well as building and monitoring bird boxes.

The Audubon says we now have some rare birds such as the bobolink and kestrels to name a few. We have hundreds of snow geese which land here to rest as they migrate.

This protected area specifically designed for endangered species of birds is where the pipeline is to be located

As a farmer, I know that the pipeline will interfere with my farming and cause irreversible soil erosion.

This is an affront to all farmers who have trusted in the State and federal programs to save land in perpetuity.

This farm is so beautiful that a mural of it is hanging in the Hunted Medical Center. And PennEast wants to run a pipeline through it. Somehow I doubt that will improve its appeal…..

There submission is below:

Harriet and Charlie – FERC Generated PDF

Harriet and Charlie – FERC Generated PDF Alternate site

Baldpate mountain’s unique ecology threatened

Baldpate mountain is right near our house. In fact you can see it from my backyard, it’s right across the valley from us. We’ve taken our Foxhound hiking there on the nature trails and absolutely love it.

The Washington Crossing Audubon Society posted a 20 page comment to the FERC site about the impact the pipeline will have to Baldpate and the surrounding Sourland mountains:

Washington Crossing Audubon comments – original image

Washington Crossing Audubon comments – Original image Alternate Site

Baldpate Mountain has been cited as a preferred alternate route because of the existing power line right of way. While using existing rights of way is generally a less environmentally disruptive option, the geology, environmental sensitivity and ecological uniqueness of Baldpate Mountain makes it a poor choice.

Because of the extreme ecological sensitivity of Baldpate Mountain, Washing Crossing Audubon society opposes routing the PennEast pipeline through the JCP&L power line cut that bisects Baldpate Mountain. An outlier of the Sourland Mountains, Baldpate Mountain contains some of the richest biodiversity in New Jersey. Southern and northern species meet at Baldpate, enriching the flora and fauna. Due to the high quality habitat, including areas of intact understory, and the mingling of southern and northern species, Baldpate Mountain has the highest concentration of breeding Neotropical migrants in New Jersey. The thirty-one Neotropical breeding species including thirteen warblers and the Yellow-breasted Chat, two tanagers, three vireos, and two Catharus thrushes. Twenty-eight breeding Neotropical migrant species are ranked by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) as birds of conservation concern. Baldpate is also an important migratory stop for Neotropical birds. Fifty species of Neotropical migrants of conservation concern use Baldpate Mountain as a migratory stop. A total of 165 species have been report to erbium at Baldpate; sixty-one of these are ABC species of conservation concern that use Baldpate for breeding, a migratory stop or as part of a resident territory. The New Jersey threatened Long-eared Owl was winter roosts at Baldpate Mountain.

Because Baldpate Mountain is long and narrow, it is highly sensitive to disruption from activity on the power line cut that bisects the forest lengthwise. Of special concern is noise from blasting and construction that would penetrate deeply into the forest, interfering with vocal communication between birds at a critical time during the breeding season. Construction along the power line cut and especially extending the width of the power line cut would destroy or degrade adjacent breeding habitat along the length of the mountain. Because Baldpate breeding territories are saturated, these birds cannot move further back into the interior forest if disturbed. There is no place for the displaced birds to go. Blue-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers, species of conservation concern that breed at the forest-power line ecotone, would be especially affected. Increasing the width of the power line cut would also extend the edge effect further into the core forest, allowing increased access for brown-headed cowbirds, a nest parasite, and invasive species. The ecosystem at Baldpate is intact but stressed, making Baldpate sensitive to new disturbances.

The blasting necessary to penetrate eh extremely hard diabase substrate has the potential to affect the springs that feed creeks that originate on Baldpate, disrupting their flow and the animals that depend on them, including the breeding Louisiana Waterthrush, a species of conservation concern.

….

The power line cut predicates the requirement for an environmental impact statement. Considering the ecological sensitivity of Baldpate Mountain, the power line cut should have never been placed there. A thorough biological inventory and environmental impact statement would clearly show wy. The damage to the fragile by intact Baldpate Mountain ecosystem should not be compounded by allowing PennEast access for their pipeline.

A Google Earth snapshot of Baldpate is shown below with the pipeline route highlighted in purple through it.

Think of Mr. Butterfoos!

Marie in Stockton is hoping that the rule of law is still in effect here in the U.S., and that corporations can’t do an end run around it by invoking eminent domain. Do we have a Right to Farm or don’t we?

Marie’s comments – FERC generated PDF

Marie’s comments – FERC generated PDF Alternate Site

Please be advised that the above-described Land, namely Parcel 1:10007-33-4i,s already established within the confines and commitments of 8 Farmland Preservation Easement held by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the United States ofAmerica and the County of Hunterdon, dated 10/30/2009.

My land has been secured for the perpetuity of”the Right to Farm” and as such, has been monitored for the past five years accordingly and successfully. I have enjoyed my walk and talks with my formidable partners and their representatives and have never felt pressure to defend and/or regret Green Land Restrictions until the PennEast Pipeline (and other’s like it) seemingly force a re-evaluation of “need” vs. “greed” and the distinctions between them.

Later on in the same submission she describes her property and what the pipeline is going to do to it – and we learn that no only is Marie’s farm in jeopardy, but a Mr. Butterfoos actual body as well….

I am the owner of a farm located in Hunterdon County, Delaware Township, Stockton, New Jersey, 08559, referred to as Block 33, Lot 4, encompassing 38 acres.

On a revised right away shown on the latest PennEast alternate drawing, the Proposed Pipeline is shown cutting right through the center of my farm. Five years ago, I placed my farm in the Farmland Preservation Program. I did this because of my desire to let future generations enjoy the beauty of this farm as has my family and in essence and with appreciation, many others — from those
who marveled at its great green, fertile fields, its radiant glowing water supply (our pond) apples, pears, peaches, cherries, strawberries and yes, natural shoe-stain to keep our boots abundantly “in order” and at the ready for the cow-stanchion in the great German tradition of”milking and storing the liquid gold” we call cow’s milk. To those who have loved its open spaces, long walks and even, longer talks; to those who came to visit —once again, the homestead of their Delaware Township families —from restored head boards with secret “initials” and “best buddy markings,” and yes — to visit once again – so as never to forget – the man who’s tombstone still graces this Farm, Mr. Ent Butterfoos!

The stewardship of this Farm —Lot 33-Block 4—-PennEast docket number: PF15-1-000 is inconsistent with its numerical value and its PipelineMonetaryPossibility. This farm supports life and your plan Pipelines to no future except to The Banks That Still Fail, destmys many more. (We may one day, learn to res—tore ruined crop fields; we will never learn to restore life to those we have taken life from no matter how many death-kills you so designate and worse, “march these victims off in the name of capitalism, socialism, communism and/or profit.”

Wetlands protected for Five generations threatened by the pipeline

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!!

Delaware Township farms

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