No Farms/No food

I grew up near the Jersey Shore in Monmouth County and largely lived the stereotype of typical NJ inhabitants. I knew my stop on the GSP (120). I held my nose going passed the oil refineries in Elizabeth NJ. I listened to Bruce Springsteen and I visited the Stone Pony. We called New Yorkers down for a day at the beach rude names and emulated their way of talking anyway.

Then I moved away to NYC for 20 years….

And finally I landed in Hunterdon County NJ, and was man was I amazed. Hunterdon County is not the NJ that I grew up in. One of the most popular stores in the area is Tractor Supply (I kid you not!). Many trucks have bumper stickers saying “No Farms/No Food”. I didn’t know what a 4H Fair was 3 years ago, but I sure do now.  Hunterdon County has one a few miles from my house that is simply awe inspiring in its size and depth, and we go every year.  There is far, far more farmland here than land for housing.

Lauren of Hunterdon County NJ let’s the FERC know that NJ is a very varied place, and that the pipeline is going through some of the most beautiful and productive land in the United States:

I’m writing to express opposition to the PennEast pipeline set to run through my town. Hunterdon County does not meet the NJ stereotype. We are a progressive, close-knit community that greatly values its natural surroundings. We have fought for our beautiful open space.

At community meetings to discuss the pipeline several farmers who have existing pipelines running through their property said that the land where the pipeline was dug has never been the same: the base shale gets put where the topsoil should go, therefore making those areas of land un-farmable. Vegetation doesn’t grow on shale. You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker “No Farms/No Food.” We need our farmers, and they need their land to remain fertile.

We are lucky to have lush pockets of delicate eco systems for wildlife. If someone from FERC took a drive around these parts, you’d see how passionate we are about keeping it that way. There’s hardly a driveway that doesn’t have a sign at the end of it saying “Stop the PennEast Pipeline.”

We are tapping (literally) an antiquated source to make energy that will soon be exhausted. The money for the proposed pipeline should instead go to energy means that support the future. We live in a modern age where we now can successfully harness the energy of the wind and sun, which are far cleaner ways to power our lives. I’m asking you to please consider funding solar, wind, and geothermal energy options as a way to create jobs, protect the environment, and help put our country in a greener spotlight.

Lauren’s submission is available below:

Lauren of Hunterdon – FERC Generated PDF

Lauren of Hunterdon – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

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

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

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.”

Ava gets right to the point

Ava from Stockton uses both barrels to blow a hole through the PennEast proposal:

I am a 19 year old resident of Stockton, New Jersey and am writing to express my opposition to the PennEast pipeline which is threatening to destroy not only our community but my family’s property. I have had the privilege to grow up in this community, on a beautiful family farm that belonged to my Great Grandmother, Jane Henderson.

I am extremely upset that a company can come in and endanger our land and all the natural resources that come with it. If you drive through our community, you will the signs everywhere opposing this pipeline. The Delaware River,which is one of our biggest resources for water and tourism, is at risk as well as the land that we live on.


Farms owned by families going back to the Revolutionary War

Jeanne’s family has owned several farms in Holland Township for generations.  A LOT of generations – going all the way back to the 1700’s:

Jeanne’s comments – FERC Generated PDF

From her comments:

I am totally against the pipeline and a private company making a profit at my families’ expense by destroying the land in New Jersey Hunterdon County, specifically Holland Township. The route is planned to go through not only my husband’s and brother-in law’s family farms, but also through my original home farm. The Moore farm has been in our family since the 1700s. Our ancestors settled this land and started in a one room house that remains part of the current house today. We have documentation that both my original family and my husband’s ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War as Patriots. My husband’s great grandfather fought for the Union in the Civil War in the 9th NJ regiment. It saddens my family that our heritage is being destroyed, that the labor and sacrifice of our ancestors can be dismissed as if this is not entirely our rightful land. I feel especially violated by having my two family farms devalued and destroyed by a company’s bottom –line when none of this project would benefit the local residents of the area. We do not need to export gas/oil to other countries. The fact that it is going to the freight and shipping city of Trenton makes this clear no matter what the “company line” states. Also, I am now suspicious of the political leaders and their previous efforts to keep “open land” in New Jersey. How much are they to profit from this pipeline being approved on my family land?