Robbing a farm of its organic certification

Carina in Delaware township NJ submitted USDA documents to the FERC that certify her farm as organic. In her submission comments she states:

I have attached CRP contracts with the Hunterdon County USDA that certified my farmland as organic over a period of 10 years. The PennEast Pipeline would destroy them and negate the time and taxpayer $ spent under PF15-1.

Her submission is here:
Carina Delaware Township – FERC Generated PDF

Safety Concerns

A big point of contention between public opinion and the PennEast people is on the topic of safety.  People in the path of this pipeline are worried about this thing. It’s a 3 foot wide high pressure pipeline buried just a couple of feet under the surface of the ground, carrying a billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.  PennEast assures us this pipeline is “safe”, or at least as safe as they can make it.

But all things are relative, and safety is not an absolute but a continuum.  It’s not just a question of how statistically likely a breach or explosion of the pipeline is; it’s also about the damage that would be caused if the unthinkable did happen.  I grew up with natural gas in my family home, and my family accepted the risk of small 2″ gas pipelines coming into our home for the convenience and relative cheapness of it.  But 2″ is one thing.  A three foot pipeline carrying a billion cubic feet of natural gas PER DAY is another thing entirely.  I don’t want such a beast near my house.  And neither does Cara from Stockton.

I am an extremely concerned citizen from Delaware Township,NJ and am writing to express my strong opposition to the PennEast pipeline. My concerns are numerous. I am not sure what more that I can say that has not ALREADY been said here over and over, not only by other concerned citizens but by respected scientists and educators who understand the damage that this pipeline will do to our environment a lot better than I.

My greatest opposition to this pipeline is our safety and our health. The news has been more than alarming. A pipeline in West Virginia exploded this past Monday making it the fourth accident this month! I live on a property adjacent to my Mother’s. The alternate route that PennEast has proposed would run directly through her property, land that has been in our family for several generations. What can you do to assure us that she will be protected from one of these explosions? She is a two time cancer survivor and has chronic asthma which I saw on the EPA website can be exacerbated by gas emissions. Please tell me that she did not survive stage 4-lung cancer to now be subjected to possible explosions and contaminated water in our wells from a pipeline that we do NOT want or need?

The pipeline would also be approximately 2 miles from Delaware Township School, our local Elementary and Middle School. Our community does not have adequate emergency responders or resources should there be an evacuation or large-scale emergency. In addition, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) only has 135 inspectors to oversee the 2.6 million miles of pipeline. It is strikingly evident that they cannot maintain what is already in existence!

Read her complete comments here:

Cara from Stockton – FERC Generated PDF

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