BLUE MOUNTAIN WATER PARK PLANNED
The Blue Mountain Ski Area will be using gas from the proposed pipeline for a gas fueled electric generation facility. The ski area received a $500,000 taxpayer funded grant for the electric generation equipment. The electricity produced will be used to power a planned water park at the ski area. The pipeline will cross Blue Mountain Ski Area lands on its way to Northampton County and the pipeline company plans to install an “interconnect facility” to allow Blue Mountain to access gas from the pipeline. This is the only interconnect planned for Carbon County. It should be noted that the ski area has had plans for a water park years before the PennEast/UGI pipeline was announced. In fact, in plans submitted to Lower Towamensing, UGI had offered to provide a gas connection to the gates of the Blue Mountain facility which means the benefit of the proposed pipeline to the project are significantly overstated. There are no plans to provide other residents of Carbon County with natural gas from the PennEast/UGI pipeline --even if the pipeline crosses their land.
FOR SKI RESORT PROJECT
Blue Mountain Ski Resort’s “multiphase project” to become a year-round resort is wasteful and environmentally irresponsible. The resort’s plans to build a $20 million-plus water park with a “hot springs-style pool,” a hotel, timeshares, wastewater treatment plant, and a natural gas heat and power plant to be serviced by the proposed PennEast pipeline will come at the expense of dozens, if not hundreds, of acres of habitat in Pennsylvania’s last remaining stretch of unbroken forest along the Kittatinny Ridge.
In response to Blue Mountain Resort’s expansion plans, the 114-mile PennEast pipeline could be extended for an additional 2 miles through State Game Lands 168 east of Little Gap for the so-called “Blue Mountain Connector” to service the resort’s “co-generation” power plant. This plant will be fueled by fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale, which is neither “clean” nor “low cost” but has been proven to contribute as much greenhouse gas to the atmosphere as coal-fired plants, in addition to consuming vast quantities of fresh water for hydrofracking, and land for its massive build-out of pipelines and infrastructure.
Blue Mountain Resort’s outspoken support for the PennEast pipeline to serve its own private interests is a slap in the face to the thousands of Carbon County residents fighting to keep this industrial behemoth away from their own backyards.
The Kittatinny Ridge is an unbroken forested line through Pennsylvania that provides a vitally important north-south pathway for migrating raptors, songbirds, wide-ranging mammals and butterflies, as well as the Appalachian Trail. It is unfortunate that a section of this iconic natural feature has fallen into the hands of a profit-driven corporate entity whose primary goal is to increase its footprint, and its profits, at the expense of Carbon County’s environment and natural resources.
Blue Mountain Resort gets a thumbs-down from this Carbon County resident.
Times News Letter to the Editor 09/11/15