Join Us ~ March 15th
at the Delaware River Basin Commission Meeting
to Stop the PennEast Pipeline &
Ban Fracking in the Delaware River Basin
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick voices PennEast concerns by Kyle Bagenstose
In a letter sent to federal regulators this week, Bucks County's new congressman, Brian Fitzpatrick, strongly expressed concerns with the controversial PennEast pipeline proposal.
Fitzpatrick, R-8, of Middletown, did not outright reject the idea of building the pipeline. Instead, he said the PennEast Pipeline Co. needs to do more to demonstrate that the project warrants the taking of land from private citizens.
“The power of eminent domain to take private land should not be conferred to a corporation without ironclad proof that the project is unquestionably in the public interest. Such proof has yet to be demonstrated,” Fitzpatrick wrote in a letter to Norman Bay, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal agency tasked with reviewing and approving interstate natural gas pipelines.
The PennEast pipeline is proposed to run approximately 118 miles from Luzerne County to Mercer County, New Jersey, passing through a small, rural portion of northern Bucks along the way. As reported by this news organization last week, an alternative route through a central portion of the county has also been floated, although it appears unlikely that it would be used. Fitzpatrick's district covers the entirety of Bucks County.
Opponents of the pipeline are concerned about environmental damage, public safety and climate change, while supporters and the PennEast company say the pipeline would safely transport gas and that the pipeline is needed to provide stable and low-cost energy markets for Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents.
Fitzpatrick aligned himself with the position of many pipeline opponents when he wrote that he hasn't been sold on any benefits.
“The NJ Division of Rate Counsel and independent energy experts have raised legitimate questions regarding whether there is documented market need for and public benefit that would result from this project,” Fitzpatrick wrote.
He also said he shared concerns with constituents that included “impacts to preserved lands, the Cooks Creek (watershed), and the drinking water supply for the Borough of Riegelsville.”
He added that “numerous federal agencies” have raised concerns about “serious deficiencies” in FERC's Draft Environmental Impact Statement, a key document the commission issued in July. Essentially, the document stated FERC staff found the pipeline could be built without any major environmental impacts.
Opponents have raised concerns with the adequacy and accuracy of information FERC used to make the determination, and it appears Fitzpatrick agrees.
“FERC should not issue a final (environmental impact statement) that fails to address these issues, nor make a final decision ... without definitive resolution of the questions raised,” he wrote.
In an email to this news organization, state Rep. Scott Petri, R-178, of Upper Makefield, said he was opposed to the alternative route through central and lower Bucks communities. PennEast had stated that it too prefers its original route.
"The alternative plan through Bucks County makes no sense economically or environmentally as it contains approximately 30 more miles of piping, involves at least five additional stream crossings, two additional crossings of the Delaware River and likely impact to several historic structures in the communities impacted," Petri wrote.
"If this alternative is considered all of the agencies having jurisdiction will be contacted by me to ensure that a full review of the impact will be revealed," Petri added before referencing his preference for siting infrastructure projects along already-existing right-of-ways.
Fitzpatrick's letter to FERC is the second time he has aligned himself with local environmentalists during his first month in office. In an email sent to this news organization in early January, Fitzpatrick wrote he believes climate change is real and that “human behavior is a contributing cause.” He added he has “concerns” with any cabinet selections of President Donald Trump “who do not share my concerns about the dangers posed by climate change.”
In the email, Fitzpatrick further wrote, “If any administration official attempts to advance policies which fail to recognize this reality and harm the environment, I am fully prepared to push back and stand in opposition to such harmful environmental policies.”
"The deviations are not planned, as of now, PennEast then clarified."
Check Out This Beautiful Video By One of Bucks County’s Own Filmmakers
The Latest News on the PennEast Pipeline Project
"We understand the value of a healthy, optimistic attitude. We consider ourselves to be a “glass half full” rather than “glass half empty” type of people. But we’re also realists. Last week the builders of the proposed PennEast Pipeline–a $1.2 billion, 114-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline that will deliver approximately 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus gas fields of northeastern PA to locations in southeastern PA and across the border to Trenton, NJ–received what we considered bad news. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) told PennEast they would extend the amount of time they are taking until December of this year, rather than August, to complete their Environmental Review. And FERC won’t issue their final decision on authorizing the project until March 2017–at the earliest. PennEast had requested FERC wrap it all up by this August–an 8-month delay. In our book, that’s mildly bad news. But yesterday PennEast issued a press release saying the FERC announcement is an “important milestone,” almost lauding FERC for moving so quickly given a plateful of pipeline applications–even though it means the PennEast project now won’t be completed until 2018 instead of 2017. Is this a “glass half full” optimistic attitude? Or self-deluding denial? We can think of many reasons why it’s a manifestly bad thing that FERC has delayed–not the least of which is are multiple lawsuits sure to be launched by the radicals at THE Delaware Riverkeeper…"
"We are renewing our call to FERC to protect the integrity of its review process and the public interest by not allowing this incomplete and grossly inaccurate application to proceed," Gilbert said.
Farmers, organizations, and individuals from across the state have drafted and signed onto a letter calling on Governor Wolf to stop fracking.
Much of our state is farmland producing meat, grain, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.
Fracking is destroying Pennsylvania’s agrarian traditions.
Let Governor Wolf knows fracking and farming cannot safely coexist.
Check out this wonderful video coverage of the March Across the River
To Stop the PennEast Pipeline
by Bucks County's own Scott Seraydarian
Presenting "For the River"
As well as a these awesome videos from Shaleshock Media's Cris McConkey
(with special thanks to Chris Landy and all the Production Crew!)
https://youtu.be/p5az0T6WDBU March Across the River to Stop the PennEast Pipeline
https://youtu.be/jBbUSz4X37c March Across the River Speakers
Recent Articles and Important Links
October 2, 2015, in a FERC Motion to Intervene, BOS speak words from Durham Residents. Residents present monthly to the board their concerns. Calmly and with factual information, residents clearly articulate their voice. "The Durham Township Board of Supervisors calls for a moratorium on any and all planning for the PennEast Pipeline where it passes through Durham Township until all of our concerns have been addressed."
The March Across the River to #StopPennEast
August 22nd, 2015
Well Over Four Hundred People of All Ages Marched to Demonstrate Their Steadfast Opposition to the PennEast Pipeline Project.
Public Need or Corporate Greed?
(photo credit Norman Torkelson)
(photo credit Berks Gas Truth)
Newtown Township, Wrightstown and Upper Makefield, Bucks County, are in the early stages of considering an ordinance that would pave the way for fracking in these areas.
Thousands of residents up and down the line are voicing opposition to the PennEast Pipeline project.
Over twenty-five municipalities have written resolutions in opposition to this pipeline.
DURHAM TOWNSHIP CITIZENS PASS
A Citizen's Resolution AGAINST THE PENNEAST PIPELINE
SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP BUCKS COUNTY PASSES RESOLUTION
IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED PENNEAST PIPELINE PROJECT
BRIDGETON TOWNSHIP BUCKS COUNTY RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE PENNEAST PIPELINE
SOLEBURY TOWNSHIP PASSES RESOLUTION AGAINST THE PENNEAST PIPELINE
WHEN PENNEAST REPRESENTATIVES HAND YOU THEIR CARDS, THEY SAY $UGI
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UGI'S TRACK RECORD IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
The title of the article, of course, refers to the explosion of a UGI cast iron main in Allentown that killed 5 people and destroyed eight homes. UGI was fined $500,000 and UGI Utilities President Robert Beard told the Public Utilities Commission UGI would "accelerate its plans to replace aging cast-iron gas pipes." UGI also agreed to invest capital in an infrastructure replacement program as part of a settlement under which it could not recover money with a DSIC until this year.
UGI and PUC agreed that in order to better UGI’s leak detection standards and speed up its replacement schedule for cast iron pipes, rate payers would have to pay thru rate increases.
As part of the settlement after the Allentown blast, PA PUC Investigation & Enforcement attorneys wrote:
"UGI shall explore enhanced leak detection measures and [file] a pilot program to utilize one or more of those enhanced leak detection measures throughout the City of Allentown."
"Out of about 72 miles of cast-iron pipe in Allentown, the average pipeline age falls between 90 and 120 years.
"The public utility company told a special U.S. Senate committee last year it would take 40 years to replace all of the city's cast-iron pipes. [That's in Allentown ALONE]
"The company replaced seven miles of city gas main in 2011, UGI spokesman Joe Swope said. That's more than the six miles it planned to replace, which itself is more than twice what the company had replaced the year before.
"In 2012, UGI plans to replace seven and a half miles of pipeline, Swope said. That would leave about 64.5 miles of cast-iron pipe in the city."
The PUC attorney filings state: "contrary to the February 19  Order UGI’s filing does not include a pilot program and that Instead, UGI's filing consists of a mere recitation of its current leak detection programs and attaches a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit a consultant to assist it with developing additional natural gas detection measures. In other words, UGI has not, at this time, developed new or innovative programs to enhance its current leak surveys in the City of Allentown - an area with known, potential hazards."
Two and a half years after the blast, UGI tested new gas leak detection system in Allentown. "The new technology, strapped to the front of an ordinary Nissan pickup truck and hooked up to a computer, uses infrared light to detect escaping natural gas and pinpoint the location of leaks."
"State regulators have approved UGI Utilities' long-term plan to speed up replacement of aging natural gas distribution lines like the one implicated in Allentown's deadly February 2011 gas explosion.
"That opens the door for UGI to begin passing the cost of those upgrades along to customers via a special fee as early as next year, although a spokesman for the utility said it has no immediate plans to do so."
April 2015 (Morning Call article April 14)
"UGI Utilities Inc. said it will replace 62 miles of obsolete gas pipeline throughout its service territory, including the Lehigh Valley.
"About 12.5 miles of work will be done in the Lehigh Valley, including about 5 miles in Allentown, where a cracked cast-iron pipe caused an explosion in February 2011 that killed five people and destroyed half a block of row homes. UGI paid a maximum fine of $500,000 assessed by the state Public Utility Commission for the blast.
"Pipeline replacement also will take place in Bethlehem, Easton and Catasauqua as well as in Palmer and Whitehall townships.
"Replacement of aging cast-iron and bare-steel pipes, which are more prone to leaks than high-density plastic or treated steel pipes, is part of an $85 million capital improvement plan, the company said."
April 2015 (News Release April 16)
FERC officially implemented an industry cost recovery policy for gas infrastructure "modernization."
PECO, Columbia and three UGI subsidiaries, including UGI-PNG and UGI-CPG, are among PA's ten major natural gas distribution companies, defined by the PUC as those with more than $40 million in gross annual revenues.
SO, more than 4 years after the UGI explosion in Allentown, for which UGI was found at fault, they have announced a plan to replace cast iron pipes. They look like heroes by implementing an "$85 million capital improvement plan," for which they will recoup all cost.
CHECK OUT THIS GREAT BLOG THAT EXPLAINS WHAT
THE PENNEAST PIPELINE MEANS TO REAL PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITIES
DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY TODAY!!!
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE BELOW LINK for More Information on
How YOU Can Divest from Supporting the Fossil Fuel Industry and GO GREEN!!!
Durham Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline have aligned with Cooks Creek Watershed to
PROTECT OUR WATER
~ Check Them Out At ~
COOKS CREEK WATERSHED SIGNS RESOLUTION AGAINST PENNEAST PIPELINE
The Cooks Creek Watershed is a 30-square-mile Exceptional Value watershed located in Upper Bucks County. It contains more than 40 miles of pristine streams and brooks that retain a stunning array of fish, insects and other wildlife including the last remaining natural brook trout fishery in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Cooks Creek is unique in the Delaware Valley because of the exposed limestone and karst topography, making it home to a number of rare and endangered species. This limestone valley is capped north and south by granite ridges, creating a seam of springs that feed numerous headwater streams and wetlands and keep the water in Cooks Creek unusually clear, clean, and cold.
Historically, the watershed provided hydro power for one of the earliest iron furnaces in colonial America, and its iron mines helped secure the colonists’ victory over England in the Revolutionary War. The boats used to ferry General Washington across the Delaware in Trenton on a cold Christmas Eve in 1777 were made in Durham Township. A railroad once transported people and goods from the Delaware River to nearby Quakertown, and the proximity to the Delaware River canal system ensured a ready market for lumber and iron ore. Despite these industrial beginnings, the townships of Durham, Springfield and Lower Saucon are today a pastoral landscape of rolling hills, orchards, farms and forested lands interspersed with quaint villages and secluded estates.
In recent years there have been attempts by entrepreneurs to bring industry back to the Cooks Creek valley. A tank farm was proposed in Springtown; a quarry and asphalt plant was proposed in Durham, and recently, there was an attempt to export the exceptionally clean groundwater of Springtown to support regional development. Since 1973, the Cooks Creek Watershed Association has successfully defended the watershed’s resources from these assaults. We now face a new attack. The PennEast pipeline is proposed to cross the Cooks Creek Watershed along the Durham/Riegelsville boundary. This 30-inch natural gas pipeline will carry natural gas from the fracking fields of North Central PA, to processing facilities in Mercer County, NJ.
If allowed to cross the Cooks Creek Watershed, the PennEast pipeline will cut a 125-foot swath of destruction across forest, headwaters and farmland in Durham, creating a scar that will bleed pesticides, sediments and invasive species. Unlike the impacts from historical industrial practices, these impacts are both permanent and have no discernible benefit to the people residing within the watershed. In a sad twist of irony, the majority of the gas will likely be liquefied and shipped overseas to fuel competing economies.
We need to take a stand now to stop this madness. It is ridiculous and irresponsible to allow political interests fueled by greedy international companies to give away our resources. The members of the Cooks Creek Watershed Association have written and signed a resolution regarding our interests and how we stand in this matter. We will be presenting this resolution to local municipal governments, other environmental groups, the media, and local, county and state elected officials.
WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa. "Dozens gathered in Upper Bucks County Tuesday afternoon to once again voice concerns over the proposed PennEast Pipeline"
"The fracking process is replete with disastrous consequences, from discovery to completion of a well to transporting the gas from one end of the country to the other.
With fracking being exempt from the Clean Water Act, the industry uses a massive amount of this precious resource. In Pennsylvania there isn't even any charge for companies to use massive amounts of our water from rivers or streams"
"The proposed PennEast Pipeline is not about energy independence for Pennsylvania, opponents of the line say. Rather, they assert, it’s about swelling corporate revenue and profits by serving as a swift conduit for helping to export natural gas from the Keystone State to foreign markets as quickly as possible". by Correspondent Chris Ruvo
"We'd love to export" more energy, Krancer said.
"I think we have enough for the entire world."
"Krancer said he had recently received visits from would-be energy importers from France, Poland, and South Africa, while delegations from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, and Norway have visited with Pennsylvania state officials."
When asked whether the gas the PennEast pipeline transports will be sold and shipped to overseas markets, media relations manager Patricia Kornick said,
"It's unequivocally not for export, the pipeline is a total non-export line."
OTHER PERTINENT ARTICLE LINKS: Regional News
OLDER RELATED PIPELINE NEWS ARTICLES
State Representative – Marguerite Quinn
Doylestown Office: 1032 N. Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18902-105
Durham Township Office: 2nd Wednesday of every month – 11:30 am to 1 pm
Durham Township Building, 215 Old Furnace Road, Durham, PA 18039
Harrisburg Office: 159 East Wing, PO Box 202143, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2143
Phone: 717-772-1413 Fax: 717-783-3793
State Senator – Bob Mensch
Northampton County Office: 1701 Washington Blvd., Easton, PA 18042
Montgomery/Bucks County Office: 404 Main St., Suite A, Pennsburg, PA 18073
Phone: 215-541-2388 Toll Free: 855-247-9020
Harrisburg Office: Senate Box 203024, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3024
Phone: 717-787-3110 Fax: 717-787-8004
Federal Representative – Mike Fitzpatrick
Bucks Office: 1717 Langhorne Newtown Road, Suite 400, Langhorne, PA 19047
Washington Office: 1224 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Federal Senator – Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Regional Office: 840 Hamilton St., Suite 301, Allentown, PA 18101
Washington Office: 393 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6324 Toll Free: 866-802-2833
Federal Senator – Pat Toomey
Regional Office: 1150 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Suite 101, Allentown, PA 18103
Washington Office: 502 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510