The importance of accurate maps

Laura from Easton PA has noted that PennEast has offered very confusing information about exactly where they’re considering to run the pipeline, and that the maps they’re using in particular are bewildering.

Maps of the proposed route provided by PennEast are STILL insufficient.
A neighbor told me yesterday that she JUST got a letter from PennEast as a stakeholder. The only map she’s seen does not show that the pipeline would go through her property.

Every map is different. Some are topographical, some are GIS, none show street names. I’m not sure how the public is supposed to interpret these maps. PennEast is not even trying to be cooperative. The intentionally mislead and confuse.

FERC should insist on consistent, readable maps from PennEast that actually show stakeholders and the public where they intend the pipeline to go. In addition to confusing people about their own properties, these maps make it impossible to make determinations for FERC’s upcoming environmental and historical scoping meetings.

I’ve thought precisely the same thing. The initial maps shown by PennEast were just topo maps with no easy way to tell how it correlated to people’s homes and places around them. They eventually gave a google-maps based map of the proposed corridor, but limited the zoom significantly so it was hard to tell exactly where it was.

Even the value of that map has been diminished because the PennEast inexplicably keeps alternating between the original November route and the January route. Depending when you go there you could get either route. And that’s a big deal because the routes are substantially different, particularly in New Jersey – the difference can be measured in miles.

Luckily the source google maps file (called a KMZ file) WAS available on their site, which I’ve linked to here:

January 2015 proposed pipeline route

Laura’s FERC submission is below for reference:

Laura from Easton PA – FERC Generated PDF

Laura from Easton PA – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

We’ve got sinkholes too!

It isn’t just earthquake and rain to worry about. Apparently Pennsylvania is serious sinkhole country to boot. Judith from Easton PA writes:

I am writing to register my strong opposition to the proposed PennEast pipeline. My main concern are the sinkholes that are in the area of
the pipeline,the destruction of the trees,and the run off down the mountain of hexenkopf and into our property and the farm across the street. This will affect Fry’s Run and THE Delaware River…
We have the Columbia Pipeline very close to us and know that you have already approved The LEIDY SOUTHEAST expansion project which will deliver gas from the same start point to the same end point…WHEN WILL THIS STOP???

An interesting thing to note here as well is her mention of the other pipelines already constructed and those in planning. From what I’ve read the FERC process does not consider pipeline projects all together to assess their aggregate impact on the area. Instead they study each one isolation as if none of the others exist.

This is glaring hole in the FERC process that makes the PennEast pipeline looks much better than it actually is in reality. Consider all the proposed pipelines simultaneously and you see that:

a) The supposed need for “more pipelines” goes down as you keep proposing…yet more pipelines.

b) The environmental impact is going to be much greater.

c) The percentage risk of catastrophe goes up with every pipeline built.

You can see Judith’s submission here:

Judith East PA – FERC Generated PDF

Judith East PA – FERC Generated PDF Alternate site

Runoff issues

When I lived in NYC I never gave any real thought to rain. It happened, I took an umbrella to work, and that was it. It wasn’t until I moved out to the country that I found out all complexities rain can bring to life – drainage ditches, runoff, water contamination, floods, you name it!

Jane in Easton PA focuses on this and other issues in her FERC submission.

Jane in Easton – FERC Generated PDF

Jane in Easton – FERC Generated PDF Alterate Site

I oppose the proposed Penn East pipeline specifically in the area of mile markers 71.5 to 72.5 due to first hand knowledge of runoff. In the area of mile marker 71.5 and the entire 400-foot area to be considered, the runoff has been so extensive as to cause a ditch along the road, which has to have stones added occasionally. Otherwise, there would be a very deep drop off immediately adjacent to the road. The removal of hundreds or thousands of trees just west of that area will most definitely add to this problem.

According to americanforests.org, a 5% increase in tree cover can offer a 2% decrease in runoff. It can only presumed that a 100% decrease in trees will drastically increase the runoff. Additionally, 1 tree is able to absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and supply oxygen for 2 people, according to that same site. We need to keep every single tree that we possible can in order to absorb the pollution that we already have since the increase in pollution will be exacerbating the climate change.

It is then proposed to cross preserved farmland and through Fry’s Run, which is a High Quality Cold Water Fishery and Migratory Fishery. A Lancaster County farmer indicated in an article on Lancaster Online that his crops growth is stunted over the pipeline compared to an area 10 feet away from the right of way, and this is 24 years after that particular pipeline was installed. This preserved farmland will be subjected to that lose of productivity.