Dream home is nearing completion – but so is the PennEast proposal

Henry from Stockton, NJ is just a few weeks away from completing his dream home in Delaware Township. Unfortunately his dream is located fairly close to both the original and proposed pipeline routes.

I am weeks away &om completing my dream home on a piece of property located close the the proposed route of the PennEast pipeline project. My property is between the original route and the proposed alternate route of the pipeline. My property is located at Block 19 Lot 24 in Delaware Township, NJ.

One reason we decided to build here is that almost the entire immediate area surrounding my home are properties in Farmland Preservation. We enjoy the rural character of the area and would not like to see it marred by a new pipeline right of way. I feel our community was directly targeted because so many properties are in preservation.

I do have some concerns about what could happen to my home and family as well as my drinking water well. I believe the public need for this project has been greatly overstated by PennEast since New Jersey, where the pipeline will terminate, already enjoys the low’est residential natural gas prices in the region. The corporation “needs” the pipeline for profits, not for the benefit of the citizens in the area. I also find it very ironic that residential gas delivery will not even be offered to the very communities that will have to be traversed by the pipeline.

There is a very sad and deep irony buried in Henry’s story. If you google his block and lot information in Delaware Township you’ll land on the minutes of a Delaware Township municipal meeting that took place several years ago. The topic was variances they needed from the town and the NJ DEP to install their septic system. They noted that it took two years to complete the NJ DEP approval process.

Think about that for a moment. An individual trying to get a septic system installed on their lot needs to go through a lengthy process that takes years to get environmental approval for. For just one house. Meanwhile PennEast says that the entire pipeline process will be done in the same amount of time!

What kind of planet do we live on that approving an individual septic system takes two years but approving a pipeline sails through the system?

Henry also shares his eye-witness account of the 36″ gas pipeline explosion in Edison, NJ in the 90s. One part talks about why it took hours to get the pipeline gas flow turned off:

The valves on this pipeline normally operate in power assist mode, in which the gas pressure powers a small motor that opens and closes the valve. Normally, it is a seven- to 10-minute procedure. This night the rupture had reduced pressure in the line such that the valve would not automatically turn. However, even if there had been sufficient pressure, firefighters were concerned that the natural gas vented off from this valve during the automatic valve-closing procedure would be ignited by the intense heat from the fireball.

South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department and TETCO employees had to close the valve manually. The firefighters, in four- or five-member shifts, took turns on the four-foot-diameter hand-wheel, moving it six to eight inches at a pull against the flow of gas through the line. The heat was such that the reflective material on their turnouts burned away and the bottoms of their fire boots melted. It took 752 turns and 2 1/2 hours to close the valve.

Henry’s submission is available below.

Henry’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Henry’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate site

Pipelines criss-crossing the landscape

Maria from Wyoming, PA writes to the FERC to remind us that this isn’t about just one pipeline. There are many that have already been built, many more proposed, and some already approved. We may soon all face with what she already lives with in Luzerne County.

I am currently surrounded by the expanding gas industry infrastructure that has invaded my township and has disrupted the enjoyment of my property and the surrounding natural and scenic areas. UGIES already has a large high pressure Auburn II pipeline in close proximity to my home as well as a high pressure pipeline
interconnect, they wish to call a gate station. None of this current infrastructure built by UGI has benefited the residents of the area, and in fact thousands of residents including myself, do not even have natural gas service available. UGI has stated there are no plans for expanding local service from these facilities or any of its proposed future pipeline projects in my area. In addition, the Williams Transco pipeline is a few hundred feet from my home.

I have great concerns over the cumulative effect of all of these pipeline projects on the air quality and the threat of a lethal explosion looms over my home. The area I live in is not a remote desolate area as UGIES would like FERC to believe. I live in an R-1 zone which stands for residential, not remote. I have watched the destruction of wetlands around my home as these pipeline projects have cut through them, as well as increased erosion and water runoff problems on the mountainous terrain where I live. I fear more irreparable damage will be done by yet another pipeline adjacent to the existing ones in my area.

I have seen on my own personal property, the lack of competence when UGI simply needed to provide a new electrical service line underground to my home. They did not evaluate the situation and the environmental issues for this small project by comparison, and caused my home to be flooded and property to be damaged, by not providing proper drainage and releasing an underground water source into my home. In addition, to this present day they never performed any proper restoration to my property. Using this experience as a reference, how can I possibly believe that UGIES will have the ethics and competence to handle such a huge undertaking as the PennEast pipeline? They simply will not.

In considering the scope of this proposed project, I urge FERC to consider the environmental impact and damage in a cumulative way. This is one of several existing and proposed pipelines to invade the area. The track record has been poor so far from what I have seen. I am living with it in my back yard and speak from personal experience. I also fear for the Susquehanna River Levee system as this pipeline project proposes tunneling in close proximity to it and under the river itself. The history of flooding in the Wyoming Valley is widely documented and this levee system is the greatest form of protection.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that FERC can truly look at this project with objective and impartial eyes, despite the fact that your agency is funded by fees paid to you by the gas Companies themselves, such as UGI. Please protect the citizens of Luzerne County PA as well as all the citizens along this proposed PennEast pipeline route

You can read her submission below:

Maris’ submission – FERC Generated PDF

Maris’ submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Blasting concerns in Baldpate and Belle Mountain areas

It may not be widely known that for large portions of the PennEast route mere “digging” isn’t going to cut it. The route is going through very mountainous terrain with rock formations exposed right at the surface. Drive around West Amwell, Lambertville, and Hopewell township and you’ll see what I mean. Exposed rock everywhere! Driving along route 29, or route 518, or even on 202 near the Delaware river bridge and you’ll see the stone formations. They’re actually quite beautiful in the winter as small water falls freeze in place on the walls. If you’re not from the area think of the NJ palisades, those are made of the same stuff.

What you’re seeing is diabase, which is what makes up the bulk of the Sourland mountains. Goat Hill, Belle Mountain, and Baldpate are all made of diabase.

As I said, digging isn’t going to cut it for installing a pipeline. So they’re going to have to blast out the rock.

William and Dorothy of Hopewell, NJ tell the FERC why it’s a very, very bad idea to do this.

We are writing to voice our concerns regarding the proposed PennEast pipeline. The PennEast pipeline is one of more than ten pipelines being proposed to supply gas to New Jersey, a state already well supplied with natural gas. The two routes proposed by PennEast are particularly detrimental for Hopewell Township and neighboring townships to its north. The original route sought to minimize disturbance of private landowners by traversing public lands where possible. This route disregarded the fact that many of these environmentally sensitive lands had been specifically purchased to protect forests and the wildlife therein. The second route would traverse sensitive lands north of Hopewell Township but within the township. It would co-locate with an existing JCP&L high tension right of way to minimize environmental disturbance. However, that route would necessitate passing near Belle Mountain and then crossing Baldpate Mountain. Both formations are comprised of diabase extending more than 1000 feet below the surface. This particularly hard rock will require significant blasting to excavate an 8-10 foot deep trench that would be required to safely bury a 36 inch pipe.

Our concern is the potential consequences of the blasting. Vibrations are transmitted very efficiently through this diabase over unexpectedly long distances. As an example, at present we feel the vibrations from the blasting at the Trap Rock mine which is more than two miles away on Route 29.

Based on this ongoing experience, we anticipate even stronger vibrations arising from construction of a pipeline trench within 0.25-0.5 miles of the houses along Pleasant Valley Road even if well designed explosive charges are employed. Depending on the structural integrity of the diabase, the vibrations of the blast can be very efficiently transmitted to neighboring houses causing structural damage. Such damage could be manifested by cracking of foundations, tiled surfaces, plaster walls or swimming pools.

Even more troubling is the potential for the blasting vibrations to adversely impact the wells of the homes along Pleasant Valley Road and Valley Road. In this area all homes and farms depend on well water. Unlike wells which draw from alluvial aquifers, these wells are low yielding because they depend on ground water recharge which is delivered through existing sporadic fractures in the diabase. Depending on how the fractures respond to the blast vibrations, the water output of these wells could be increased, decreased or stopped entirely. Failure of a well would be devastating for a homeowner.

Drilling a replacement would be expensive since these wells typically are several hundred feet deep. In addition the new bore may not be successful since the source is not an aquifer but rather a chance pocket of water.

The potential economic benefits for construction of a new single-sited pipeline do not compensate for the impact on the New Jersey communities through which it passes. Here we alert FERC to the issue of blasting vibrations and well viability that is directly related to the underlying geology of the area through which the pipeline passes. After consideration of these environmental and geological concerns, we hope that you will reject the PennEast pipe line proposal.

Their submission is below:

William and Dorthy’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

William and Dorthy’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

The Nishisakawick Creek

Eric from Frenchtown, NJ writes about the threat the pipeline is to the environment around his home on the Nishisakawick Creek. The story quickly goes from talking about bald eagle citings to mention of a horrific 36″ gas pipeline explosion in the 90s in Edison, NJ:

I have read just about every comment submitted to date, regarding the proposed PennEast pipeline – I’m sure FERC has, as well. Aside from a handful of comments from individuals, ALL of the remarks favoring this project (perhaps a dozen) are from those that will directly profit from it. Utility companies & union representatives are all raving about the public benefit. This is in stark contrast to the hundreds of comments from the land owners, local governments, scientists, environmental groups, and individuals who view this project as a potential disaster. Why?

For the record, I live in Frenchtown, NJ and my home is adjacent to the Nishisakawick Creek. This stream has a C1 classification and for good reason. It is home to many species of animals that are endangered and/or threatened through loss of habitat. Three weeks ago, my wife and I had the pleasure of watching this bald eagle hunting next to our house:

As of 2012, there were only 119 breeding pairs of eagles in the state of NJ. Over the years I have also had the joy of viewing goshawk, bobcat, and corn snakes in our backyard, which are all classified as endangered by the NJDEP. Not to mention, the black bear, owls, heron, fox, coyote, deer, and dozens of other species that make regular appearances during the year. The stream is pristine and FERC should reject the PennEast proposal, out-of-hand, on this basis alone.

However, aside from the huge environmental impact this project will have, I am equally concerned about my family’s safety. Our home is located well within the thermal radius of the pipeline should it rupture. And in spite of all of the assurances from PennEast, NO ONE can erase the memory I have of the Durham Woods pipeline explosion in 1994. The flames were so high, I thought that my neighbor’s house was on fire, yet we were over 25 miles away. If this were to happen in Hunterdon, putting out the ensuing fires would be next to impossible, as our rural community relies on water tanker shuttles. Just how will PennEast handle a massive forest fire fueled by thousands of cubic feet per second of natural gas? Put simply, they can’t.

I took the time to carefully read PennEast’s “Draft Resource Report 1 and Summary of Alternatives.” In my humble opinion, the sections outlining project necessity and project alternatives were inadequate to say the least. According to PennEast’s report, the binding reservations during their “open season” demonstrated the need for this project. This is fallacious, as it only proves that members of the PennEast consortium (Spectra, UGI et al) want access to cheaper natural gas. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the existing pipeline infrastructure in NJ/NY can meet current firm demand without any problem. And recently, FERC has approved many major pipeline improvement projects to address future demand. Expansion projects with expected in-service dates between 2013 and 2015 have or will “add at least 3.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of additional capacity to New York/New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic markets.” These include the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.’s Leidy Southeast Expansion & Virginia Southside Expansion Projects, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Line 300 Expansion, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.’s Bayonne Delivery Lateral Project, Algonquin Gas Transmission’s Hubline/East to West Project, and Texas Eastern’s Transmission pipeline expansion project from Linden, New Jersey to Manhattan, New York.

New Jersey is already awash in gas transmission pipelines meeting current & future demand, and yet the gas industry insists that we need more. This is complete and utter nonsense and we certainly don’t need to cut across every Category One stream in our state to have another.

The explosion he mentions was written up in the New York times. According to the wikipedia article on the explosion:


…was caused by a rupture in a 36″ natural gas pipeline.  Not too coincidentally, PennEast is a 36″ natural gas pipeline.

Eric’s submission is available below:

Eric’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Eric’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Running the pipeline through areas of regular blasting

Penny from Moore Township, PA writes:

I am a very concerned resident of Moore Township and I am strongly
opposed to the PennEast Pipeline. Moore Township formally adopted a resolution opposing the construction of the PennEast Pipeline. More than 240 concerned citizens attended a meeting in opposition to the PennEast Pipeline in November 2014. Would you please recognize and consider the concerns and opposition of so many

I have numerous concerns in regard to the PennEast Pipeline that is proposed to run through a major part of Moore Township.


I live on South Penn Dixie Road and I am a witness to my entire home shaking from blasts that are conducted at local cement companies. This is not a safe environment to construct a gas pipeline, especially with the potential of this being a gateway for additional pipelines. A man down
the street from us lives on Sterner Road in Nazareth and he was contacted about the pipeline going through his property. He has also mentioned that his entire house shakes from the blasts. There is major risk of this pipeline running near Penn Dixie Road and South Penn Dixie Road because of the effects in the ground from blasting that is capable of shaking homes.


The close proximity of the PennEast Pipeline to the Moore Township Elementary School is a danger to over 700 students at the school. The catastrophic risk of an explosion to so many children is unacceptable.

There have been so many newspaper articles reflecting gas pipeline explosions in regard to sinkholes. I am copying a few links and related articles.

There was the explosion in Dunmore, PA – link –

There was a concern mentioned at an Upper Nazareth Township Meeting about
sinkholes: link –

There was another near catastrophic event from a sinkhole – link –

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission noted the area is like swiss cheese –
link: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breakingnews/index.ssf/2014/12/penneast_lays_out_benefits_of.html


I attended the PennEast Pipeline presentation and inquired about alternate routes. They said they have about 50 alternate routes but I was very discouraged to hear that these alternate routes are basically the same route with minor deviations within 50 feet to 1 mile of the proposed path. With this being the case, it is impossible to avoid some of the concerns I have noted including blasting, sinkholes, etc. I believe there should be alternate routes in completely different areas so that a
decision can be made on the very safest route. If you look at the map, it is a more direct and safer route to run the pipeline through Saylorsburg and Bangor. I think FERC should demand PennEast Pipeline to have alternate routes that are in completely different areas so that certain problem areas can be avoided completely.


It is a major concern to me as a resident of Moore Township when PennEast Pipeline representatives cannot answer how significant the explosion of a 36 inch high pressure gas line would be.

An important question of mine is what area would a catastrophic explosion encompass? This is a question that should have been investigated and PennEast probably has the answer but they choose not to answer this question because it is most definitely very concerning. What would the explosion area encompass as more pipelines are run through the gateway, which I have heard is not out of the question, and in fact it is a future plan?

The shut off valves are 10 to 20 miles apart which is another concern. How far would the explosion travel?

In rural areas in Moore Township, there are homeowners with their own excavating equipment that could potentially damage the gas pipeline since it is only 3 feet deep. What would the consequences of this be? No one from PennEast will answer these questions.

They’re running a pipeline in areas where cement companies do blasting? I wish PennEast was more open about what methodology they used in choosing this crazy route….

Penny’s submission is below:

Penn’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Penn’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Impact on all-volunteer fire departments an issue

Bernice from Milford brings up many good points, among them a note about the nature of the fire departments in our area. The FERC should take notice:

On a closer to home note, I live in Hunterdon County, a very rural, historic, river town area. We are living on a fault line and had an earthquake a few years ago. We have only volunteer fire departments. I have lived through the Edison and Allentown pipeline explosions. It looks like the end of the world. Last winter, a house that probably would be on the pipeline route, went on fire. Every fire department for miles was there. They got stuck getting up the hill to the house and flagged down my kids in a four wheel drive truck to try to clear a path through the snow. They couldn’t and instead had to help drag hoses toward the fire. Needless to say, the house burned to the ground.

What would happen if a pipeline exploded?


And on an even more personal note, I have wanted to be a farmer all my life. I finally bought a farm with eleven rental units on it, nine years ago. I went through the expense of getting a building lot approved for a farmhouse and paid an architect for drawings. Now there will be a bomb in my front yard when I build. How much value will that house lose? All of it. I am in the process of getting funding from the USDA to start my farm, live in the farmhouse and now the pipeline is putting an end to that. My dream of farming and living on the farm and having a retirement income is all lost for the benefit of PennEast and gas that will never be used by Hunterdon County residents. Not to mention, my eleven tenants are worried about living near a pipeline that they will have to cross everyday.

This is just one persons nightmare from this pipeline. Multiply it by 108 miles of lives. If it gets approved, why can’t we be paid fairly for what we are losing? Please deny them permission so I can get on with my future hopes and dreams to just live safely and farm on MY LAND.

I know in my town and the surrounding areas fire departments always have a tough time getting funding. They’re mostly volunteers. They’re always fighting for equipment. It took years for West Amwell to finally get modern radios, which help keep firemen safe when they’re entering burning buildings. Every year we get a note from wafco26 (http://wafco26.com/) asking for money, which we gladly donate to every year. We’re all on wells which means no hydrants. Towns routinely help each other when disasters occur but they can only stretch so much. If a 3′ pipeline ruptured I believe it would be far beyond our local fire department’s ability to handle.

Maybe that $5,000 PennEast is donating to organizations will help? Well let’s see, just the radios I mention above cost more than $5,000 in total cost. So I don’t think it’s going to make all that big of a difference. A single fire truck costs more than $100,000……