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

Pipelines and fault lines don’t mix

I didn’t know we have earthquakes in NJ, but apparently we do. Laura from Milford, NJ writes:

I am opposed to the PennEast Pipeline on the grounds that its route is directly over the largest fault line in NJ, the Ramapo fault, where there have been four recorded earthquakes in the last decade.

The strongest of these, on August 26, 2003, at magnitude 3.8, “was felt by residents with high intensity,” according Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at Columbia University – http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/LCSN

The pipeline industry has made no real progress in improving pipeline safety in the event of an earthquake. A recent article in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, entitled, “Seismic vulnerability of gas and liquid buried pipelines” reported:

“In the past, pipelines have been shown to suffer heavy damages when loaded by seismic actions. And yet, despite the evolution in the anti- seismic techniques and the progress in the seismic design, relevant damages to pipelines are still being observed.”

This bodes ill for land and water quality in the vicinity of the proposed pipeline.

Her FERC submission is here:

Laura from Milford – FERC Generated PDF

Laura from Milford – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

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