David and Merete in Pennington, NJ

David and Merete write to the FERC:

As residents of Hopewell Township, New Jersey who would be directly affected by the proposed PennEast pipeline from Luzerne County, PA to the Transco terminus north of Trenton, NJ, we voice our most strenuous objections to PennEast’s plans and its pre-filing for FERC approval. As proposed by PennEast, the pipeline would run through our property and within 100 feet of our home, and would result in the irreparable destruction of acres of hundred+-year old forest on and adjacent to our
property. Furthermore, the planned pipeline would follow a path taking it through a certified preserved wetlands area to the south of our property that are home and a waystation for migratory birds—green and blue heron and snowy egrets, among others. Those wetlands would be destroyed by pipeline construction.

The pipeline would destroy the local environment, which is the principal reason most residents of our township, including ourselves, chose to live here. No financial remuneration from the taking of our property could ever adequately compensate us for that loss. All local authorities in our and adjacent townships have formally objected to the pipeline. As you consider the PennEast proposal, you must urge PennEast to find an alternative to the proposed route that minimizes environmental damage, such as an existing right-of-way, or deny permission to build.

I remain amazed that PennEast thinks it’s OK to run a 3′ wide high pressure natural gas pipeline within a hundred feet of someone’s house, let alone through wetlands and protected water ways.

Their submission is below:

David and Merete’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

David and Merete’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Holly from Kingwood Township, NJ

Holly writes:

I am writing to express my opposition to the PennEast Pipeline Company and their intent to disrupt our beautiful preserved properties, our clean Delaware River, our C-1 Streams and the wildlife that so depends on this eco-system. I have resided in Hunterdon County NJ my entire life because it is absolutely beautiful and a hidden treasure. My concern is for our drinking water due to Kingwood Township reliance on independent wells. We have no public services in this area and rely solely on deep wells.

As our soil is mostly clay and sub soil is rock it is difficult to dig in this area. If PennEast begins to blast we will lose our wells. I am also concerned over the acceptable leakage amounts by this company. If it should leak anywhere in this area due to the sub soil rock formations it will pollute miles of drinking wells due to the fractioning of that rock. Our water is our most precious resource. I do not want PennEast to ruin our environment, my home community or disrupt the wildlife that we re-introduced to our area ie, the Bald Eagle. Many Bald Eagles now call our Delaware River Valley their home. We also have many areas with tons of Indian artifacts, historical sites, and parks. This pipeline will not be of any benefit to our area and I, again, oppose this pipeline.

Holly’s comments – FERC Generated PDF

Holly’s comments – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Yet another farm the pipeline is going through

This is getting to be a sadly familiar story. Chris from Etters, PA has owns farmland in PA, and PennEast wants to put their pipeline through it.

I am writing this letter in regards to the PennEast Pipeline Project, pre-filing docket number PF 15-1-000. With the threat of eminent domain looming, we are being coerced to agree to an easement. If the project is approved, FERC will be doing a disservice to the landowners within the
path of the pipeline. I am opposed to this project. I do not want it on my property. The PennEast Pipeline Project is extremely detrimental to the property owners directly affected by its construction, nearby residents, and the environment.

The PennEast Pipeline is planned to cross my family’s property from West Scenic Drive to Hoch Road in Danielsville, Pa. This property is currently rented to local farmers for use in crop production. If the pipeline is constructed on this land, may render a sizable portion of the land as unusable for its intended purpose. Loss of farmable land would impact our income, as well as that of the farmer through lost production. Farmers would be impacted equipment damage and / or catastrophic accidents due to shallow or exposed pipelines; pipelines which are easily damaged by plowing, construction and weather-related accidents, leading to explosions and fires. As landowners we cannot accept the responsibility of damage the pipeline may cause to farmers, area residents or the environment. The proposed route for the PennEast Pipeline traversesfarmland, un-developed land, and areas that have a history of sink-holes; furthering the risks of destructive and catastrophic occurrences. The farm has been in our family for over 60 years. In addition to farming, the land is used for recreational purposes, which would be diminished due to the pipeline. Further, property values and future plans for developing the land for a family profit would be severely impacted by
this project. In addition to lowering property value, having a dangerous gas line on our property will increase our insurance costs. The pipeline would cutoff access to the property from Hoch Road or West Scenic Drive. As building over the pipeline is not permissible, our family will have extremely limited options as to what can and cannot be done on our own land.

Also of great concern is what will happen to the pipeline when it is no longer useable? Will PennEast be required to return the land to its native state? Once can look anywhere in the country and see deteriorating buildings and infrastructure; both of which are dangerous and an eyesore.
On the PennEast site, the proudly boast they will donate UP TO $5,000 to communities along the pipeline. This paltry amount will barely cover a months’ worth of salary for emergency responders, environmental monitoring and remediation. Such an amount will not even make a dent in the amount needed to buy equipment to respond to accidents.

I hadn’t noticed the $5,000 Chris mentions on the PennEast web site. That amount seems pretty insulting for a pipeline that’s going to have 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas running through it per day.

See Chris’ submission below:

Chris’ submission – FERC Generated PDF

Chris’ submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Objections to Tetra Tech

Many, many, many (many!) people have written to the FERC objecting to the appointment of Tetra Tech to run the environmental impact study of the PennEast Pipeline. Teresa from Pennington, NJ is one of them:

I request that FERC rescind the appointment of Tetra Tech to perform the
Environmental Impact Study for the proposed PennEast pipeline. It is
absolutely necessary for an unbiased company to undertake this most
important endeavor. Tetra Tech belongs to the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

This is a clear bias.

The health of our community depends on clean water. This pipeline will
cross a multitude of streams and waterways and disturb pristine lands
that serve as a filtration source for our drinking water. The
environmental impact statement must be unbiased and accurate. Public
Health is at stake here. FERC let’s get this environmental impact
evaluation done right. Please appoint a company whose true aim is to
determine the real impact that the PennEast will have on our environment.
Please rescind Tetra Tech’s appointment. If Tetra Tech is permitted to
submit a biased environmental evaluation this will reinforce the belief
that FERC doesn’t work and the pipeline application process is a sham
rather a meaningful process.

The basis of most of the objections is that Tetra Tech is an associate member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (http://marcelluscoalition.org/). From what I can tell this organization exists primarily to promote Marcellus Shale exploitation. I’m not sure if being an associate member of this coalation is a smoking gun or not but it does seem to be a cause of concern.

Teresa’s submission is available below:

Teresa’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Teresa’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

NJ Realtors weigh in on the pipeline

Cindy Marsh-Tichy, the President of the NJ Realtors association, wrote a letter on behalf of all 43,000 members of her organization opposing the pipeline:

I am writing to you today on behalf of the approximately 43,000 members of the New Jersey REALTORS® as well as the Hunterdon/Somerset Association of REALTORS® (HSAR) and Mercer County Association of REALTORS® (MCAR) to express our opposition to the proposed PennEast Pipeline Project. We understand the proposed pipeline originates in Luzerne County, PA and enters New Jersey in Holland Township, Hunterdon County before terminating at the Transco pipeline interconnection near Pennington, NJ in Mercer County.

The NJ REALTORS® are the only organization in New Jersey fighting for the rights of property owners. At this point, it appears the construction of the pipeline will infringe on private property rights as it remains unclear what the consequences of denying PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC the right to inspect or drill on your property would be. Along with HSAR and MCAR, the NJ REALTORS® strongly believe that where possible, this pipeline should be placed on existing rights-of-way and easements where other sources of power run through, whether they be other pipelines or power lines for example.

While the NJ REALTORS®, HSAR and MCAR appreciates the need to bring affordable natural gas to consumers in our area, we also have grave concerns regarding the risks that both pipeline construction and the existence a pipeline itself brings to the ability of homeowners to sell their properties in the area. This pipeline could have severe impacts not only on private property rights, but also home and land values. Disclosure issues could also arise as it would be possible for a REALTOR® representing a buyer or seller in a transaction involving a property that that is affected by the proposed project, leaving local REALTORS®, as well as sellers, possibly open to liability.

I feel there are a few points here to consider.

First, PennEast has stated that there are no studies showing that natural gas pipelines affect property values or the ability of people to sell their homes. On the flip side, NJ Realtors saying it is concerned that the pipeline “could have severe impacts not only on private property rights, but also home and land values”. Do you believe the pipeline company or the professional realtors?

The second issue to me is whether co-location makes sense or not. From what I’ve read co-locating pipelines with each other is common and probably the least-impactful way to run a new pipeline. Co-locating other types of easements, however, may not be such a good idea. As it is, the alternate route established by PennEast in January 2015 uses a power line easement for much of the route in NJ. This…isn’t as good as it sounds. They can’t physically build the pipeline under the power lines so they’re going to have to run them next to the lines a certain distance away from them. From what I’ve seen this means the power line easements would have to be widened.  So eye sores cutting across our mountains in Hunterdon County are going to get even wider.  Even worse, a pipeline easement is not the same as a high voltage power line system.  It might be tolerable to have high voltage lines going over your farm, or driveway, or farm land.  It’s something altogether different to bury a pipeline across the entire length.

From what I’ve read PennEast jumped on a few comments like this about co-location and are trying to show the FERC what good guys they are and that they “listened” to the comments.  And now we have a truly terrible route as a result.

Send in your pics, tell us your story

If you’d like to highlight any pictures of what’s along or near the proposed pipeline route please send them in to thecostofthepipeline@gmail.com and I’ll be sure they’re published here. Better yet, tell your story and how the pipeline will impact you!

There are many Delaware and Raritan Greenways in the vicinity due to the proximity to the D&R Canal next to the river. The pipeline comes quite close to several of them and could be in jeopardy if the route changes even just a little.

The sign for this one is only a few thousand feet from the proposed pipeline:

Sadly I have to write “Permanently Protected Open Space” in quotes thanks to threats like PennEast using eminent domain.

This one is also within a quarter mile from the proposed route, it was just acquired for permanent protection last year as a joint project between West Amwell NJ and the D&R Greenway Land Trust.

A view of Baldpate Mountain from Woodens Lane in West Amwell. You see where the high tension power line towers are? That’s where the pipeline’s going through, straight up the mountain.

Sunset over Valley Road. That tree line is going to have a bigger gap for the pipeline to go through it.

The horse farm my Foxhound is looking at is going to have the pipeline go right through its center. The pipeline will be less than a hundred feet from the house being built on it.

See the trees behind the deer? Some of them will be coming down to make room for the pipeline corridor.

Across the street from the horse farm. Pipeline’s going right through the middle of this shot.

The Delaware river seen from the Lambertville/New Hope bridge. This was taken the day after torrential storms, see how brown the water is from all the runoff. This is why we worry about runoff and what’s on the ground. Whatever it is is going to end up in the Delaware.

The D&R canal. Also downstream from the pipeline construction route.

Moore’s Creek. The pipeline is running right through it. It’s a tributary of the Delaware River.