Easement realities

Richard, Anthony, and Beverly of Delaware Township have a conservation easement on their farm, a very common thing in Hunterdon County. I like to read our town Open Spaces Committee minutes (they’re available online!) to see how the conservation process works, and to see what properties are being considered in my town.

One aspect of the process I forgot about is that you owners can ask for exception areas. These are exceptions to the conservation easements so the families can have some limited development rights. They’re usually very well defined and for a very specific reason.

This trio points out how these exceptions can make a bad situation even worse when the Pipeline company comes knocking on your door.

Four generations of the Danese family have worked the land for nearly a hundred years in Delaware Township, New jersey. Our 67-acre farm (Block 32, Lots 32 & 32.01,Delaware Township) has served as the center of our family’s history, life, and livelihood in this portion of Hunterdon County.

In recognition of the very special place that our farm occupies in our family’s heart, we agreed to preserve our farm in 2009, and accept the restrictions that farmland preservation places on landowners. Our farm was preserved with State, County, Municipal, and Federal funding through the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program. We thought that we had preserved our land in perpetuity and that one of the parties to that agreement was the government of the United States of America.

Now we have been contacted by the PennEast Pipeline Company LLC, who tells us that they wish to run a high pressure, 36-inch gas pipeline across our preserved farm. What is worse, we fear that this pipeline will bisect a small area that we had exempted from the preservation as a non-severable exception area, to serve as a building envelope in the event that any of the future generations of our family wished to establish a home on that site. A high-pressure gas pipeline running through the non-severable exception area would make our building envelope useless as an area to build a home, and would destroy the remaining value of our preserved

The Danese family has proved our willingness to abide by the restrictions imposed on our property by the preservation easement in order to preserve our farm for future generations. We are both shocked and saddened that the Federal government, our partner in land preservation, would even think of allowing a high pressure gas pipeline to cross our Federally preserved property and abrogate the agreement that we thought would be in effect in perpetuity.

Their filing is available below:

Richard, Anthony, and Beverly’s filing – FERC Generated PDF

Richard, Anthony, and Beverly’s filing – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Running pipelines near schools

Craig from Bath, PA informs the FERC:

I am writing this in hopes of ferc NOT allowing the proposed penn east pipeline to happen. Not only do I have safety concerns about this pipeline running adjacent to Moore elementary school where my daughter attends, but also the long term affects it will have on the watersheds, forests, and landscape that are irreversible.

There are no long term study’s that conclude that there are no side effects to the families who live within a certain proximity of these gas lines. That in itself is scary, but than there is the possibility of leaking gas, valve stations, blowdowns, or an explosion of unknown proportions along the pipeline. Would any of the voting members of ferc be ok with a gas line running within 3/10 of a mile from there house or that close to their child’s school?

The impact on the local ecosystems and watersheds should be enough of a reason to not allow this pipeline to happen. I know just how important preserving our community is first hand as I have two farms in my family that are preserved. Many residents have fought many many years to keep our township rural and agricultural. I am sure this applies to all the other townships along the proposed path of this pipeline, not just Moore township.

The scars left behind after a pipeline is installed will never, ever go away. Swaths through forests, access roads, natural springs being compromised, and change in water run offs are just a few examples of how a pipeline destroy local ecosystems. The effects on the local wildlife are unmeasurable as well.

No local community is even benefiting from this pipeline. All the gas will be shipped overseas to the highest bidder, leaving the gas company richer and thousands upon thousands of folks homes and communities with an everlasting scar reminding them of the greed of the gas company and the government.

I understand the whole imminent domain but that was put into place back in the 1800s to be used only if there was a benefit to the community or government by “taking” someone’s land. Well, doesn’t this seem mighty unconstitutional? One company benefits, while local communities and ecosystems suffer forever.

If anyone cares about the voices of the little people effected most by this proposed pipe line, I would encourage anyone from ferc or the gas company to come out into the local communities and talk to people and see just how many “stop fracking” or “stop penn east pipeline” signs adorn the local community yards and shops. I was at a town hall meeting last month with 240+ attendees and no one was there to represent the gas company or ferc. What a shame.

Just vote NO NO NO. Stop the penn east pipeline

As I mentioned in an earlier post the pipeline is slated to pass within just over a thousand feet of West Amwell Elementary school. It really does look like PennEast picked “cheapest” as their route criteria instead of “safest, best for the environment”….

Craig’s submission is available below:

Craig’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Craig’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site