Maybe the pipeline will miss your property….or maybe you’ll lose everything

Charles from Albrightsville PA has been told that the pipeline will probably just miss his property. Or it might run right through his house. PennEast isn’t sure but will (eventually, we hope) let the gentleman know their decision.

I am a landowner whose house and property are within the 400 foot wide zone of consideration for the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline along North Old Stage Road in Albrightsville, PA just South of Hickory Run State Park. I have discussed the proposed route several times with several representatives of PennEast.

While those representatives have indicated that the route may not cross my property, their questioning of my future negotiability for land easement purposes indicates to me that they have not yet ruled out such a location.

I am concerned that the route will cross my property in an area that is currently occupied by my house, two garages, two potable wells, a septic field and various valuable trees and under which are two natural aquifers. In addition, the currently proposed route will parallel two existing petroleum pipelines closely enough that an explosion or fire of any will necessarily result in the involvement of all, the results of which would be catastrophic for any nearby homes. Coupled with loss of view of our wonderful wooded area and loss of value of our land, this pipeline project will ultimately have a severely detrimental effect on the residents’ environment.

His full comments are available at one the links below:

Charles PA – FERC Generated PDF

Charles PA – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Link

Co-location isn’t magic fairy dust

An original criticism of the PennEast project was that it was 0% “co-located” in NJ. That is, it cut a brand new path through virgin territory. The preferred approach is to co-locate a new pipeline along an existing easement to reduce the environmental impact.

That’s all well and good, but co-location isn’t magic. Problems just don’t disappear because you co-located your pipeline. This is especially true when you mix and max utilities. Co-locating two pipelines next to each other may make sense. Putting a pipeline along a high tension power line route….hmm, maybe not so much.

Brian from West Amwell explains why:

1. PennEast’s proposed route has been chosen to follow alongside existing right away electric utility easements with little regard to homeowners along those existing easements. There are quite of few houses with smaller yards (1 to 3 acres) in our neighborhood which run along the electric utility easements. Just so PennEast can say that they are following along current easements, they will attempt to squeeze the pipeline through our neighborhood regardless how close our homes are and how much more land we will end up losing for another right away. Just because it is running alongside a current easement doesn’t mean it is the best path. This proposed plan has not taken into account proximity to homes, woodlands, wetlands, and historic sites, etc. that are in its path. This plan does not appear to be well planned or thought out. Basically, they are just blindly following alongside an electric utility easement without regard.

2. I also believe PennEast is not dealing with property owners in good faith. PennEast hosted a dinner where homeowners could look at map models of the 400 foot study corridor. I was invited to the meeting as a homeowner who was supposedly in the 400 foot study corridor. At the dinner, they showed me on the map that my property is no longer in the 400 foot study corridor, yet I was still pressured at the dinner to consent to have my property surveyed. I was even called after the event by the same person asking for a survey. First I’m in the study corridor and then I’m not in the 400 foot study corridor, but they still need me to consent to a survey.

His submission is here:

Brian from West Amwell – FERC Generated PDF

Brian from West Amwell – FERC Generated PDF Alternate site

South Hunterdon School District Opposes the pipeline route

Does it make sense to have a billion cubic feet of natural gas flowing a few hundred feet away from a school?

Guess what – the South Hunterdon School district doesn’t think it’s such a hot idea either:

South Hunterdon School District – FERC Generated PDF

South Hunterdon School District – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Attached is a resolution that the South Hunterdon Regional School District Board of Education passed at its meeting on December 22, 2014; Please take notice, the Board of Education opposes the proposed route of the Penn East Pipeline, or any alternate route that would place any of the facilities of the South Hunterdon Regional School District (listed below) or its busing routes, within the pipeline’s Potential Impact Radius”

There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that the pipeline was originally slated to pass within 630 feet of the high school, but with the alternate route published in January 2015 that increased to over 9,000 feet.

The bad news is that it’s only 1,500 feet from West Amwell Elementary school.  Here’s a google earth view of the pipeline corridor near the school:

1,500 feet from the school!

As a bonus the ESC school is right across the street from West Amwell Elementary.

So there’s the good and bad.  And now here’s the ugly:

138 feet from Hewitt Park!

As the snapshot shows the pipeline survey corridor is less than 150 feet from the entrance of Hewitt Park!  This is a park that’s used in the spring, summer, and fall for baseball and soccer games by elementary schools in the area.

 

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

Nothing says “Home” like a 3 foot wide high pressure gas pipeline…

Sean from West Milford has a similar story to me and my wife.  They came out to the country to alleviate the stress of city working.  Little did they know they’d soon be sharing their sedate lifestyle with a natural gas super highway…

Sean from Millford – FERC Generated PDF

 My property lies directly in the path of the proposed PennEast Pipeline. To be more specific, a hazardous and explosive gas main will be less than 100 yards from the home and mere feet from the well which supplies the tap for myself and my family. I have trouble finding the words to say how outraged I am at the possibility of such action taking place. Beyond the obvious threat to the well being of my family, I am heartbroken at the thought of what this proposed pipeline will do the land.

My wife and I purchased our home to relieve the stress of our city jobs and connect again with nature. We live on 3 acres of wooded land, surrounded by a small creek and backed by preserved woodland. The property abounds with numerous species of wildlife (some rare for these parts) who also call this area home. If the proposition for this pipeline passes, my trees will be leveled, woodland that was previously “preserved” will be decimated, habitat will be destroyed, the creek and our water supply potentially polluted and everything my family and neighbors love about this place we call home will be decimated.