By SAVE CARBON COUNTY
PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 7/5/2017
The NJDEP has administratively closed the PennEast/UGI application for Clean Water and Wetlands Certifications and declined to give the company an extension. Company spokesperson Patricia Kornick has said this is expected and ordinary but the stock market did not agree. Shares of New Jersey Resources, one of the pipeline partners, lost 6% of value on the news of this setback.
The application was rejected because the company did not provide enough information to allow the NJDEP to make a decision on the merits.
The wetlands and streams certification for PA has also been put on hold by the Corps of Engineers because the application did not contain needed information.
Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have not been confirmed by the Senate. This means that FERC is still lacking a quorum and cannot act on the PennEast/UGI application. We expect that the FERC will approve the pipeline as a public necessity in mid-August. Once they receive that approval they will begin eminent domain proceedings against landowners to force them to provide easements. FERC approval does not mean the pipeline will be constructed.
There is still no approval of the compressor station in Kidder Twp. The final public hearings and comment period were held on this issue in March.
A UGI residential pipeline exploded near Millersville on the 3rd of July. One worker was killed, three others were injured. One house was demolished and four others were so damaged they were condemned. The explosion is under federal investigation.
By SAVE CARBON COUNTY
PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 5/31/2017
We have revised our “best case” projected timeline for the PennEast/UGI pipeline project. We are now projecting that the pipeline will not begin construction until late 2018 and will not be operational until late 2019 in the most optimistic scenario. This would place the project two years behind schedule. We note that Patricia Kornick, the spokesperson for the pipeline is now acknowledging that the pipeline will not be operational until the second half of 2018—something that we predicted months ago. The pipeline was originally planned to be operational in October 2017.
What is the reason for this projected delay? Simply put, 23% of landowners in PA and 70% of landowners in NJ have refused survey access to the pipeline company. Because of the lack of survey access the company has submitted permits to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and to NJDEP that are lacking critical information.
Both permit applications have been put on hold until this information can be provided. The company will not be able to obtain the necessary information until it has the power of Eminent Domain and can force landowners to allow access. It will not have this power until FERC issues a certificate, which is estimated to take place in Sept. of this year and after that, it will take court proceedings to gain survey access. Court proceedings will probably not be completed until the end of 2018.
In a less optimistic but very possible scenario, the NJDEP will require two growing seasons for bio surveys. If this scenario proves correct, the project would be delayed for two and one-half to three years.
Eminent Domain proceedings are projected to begin in September of this year. That means that Carbon County landowners will receive very scary letters from PennEast/UGI lawyers. Landowners have been battling this pipeline for two and one-half years, which has taken a toll on all of us. It is unfortunate that Eminent Domain will be used to force easements on landowners causing even more distress. But this pipeline is a long way from being built.
Prepared by Save Carbon County
The Army Corps of Engineers has announced that the PennEast/UGI application is incomplete because the company has not secured permission to complete environmental surveys on private land. Many PA and NJ property owners have refused survey access to the pipeline company. The Corps stated that “Depending on how long it takes to gain access…. it is simply impossible to determine a permit issuance date at this time.” The Army Corps has jurisdiction over wetlands and streams
The NJ DEP has also refused to process permits for the pipeline due to missing information. 65% of the proposed route has yet to be surveyed because property owners have refused access to PennEast/UGI agents. Taken with the refusal of the Army Corps to process permit applications, these actions represent a significant delay for the pipeline project.
The PA DEP has yet to issue a Clean Air certification that would allow the construction of the Kidder Twp. Compressor Station.
Representatives of Mott-McDonald, an engineering firm working for the pipeline, are contacting local governments asking for copies of the requirements for street openings. It is very important that townships review their requirements and make sure that the ordinance requires a performance bond or an escrow account to ensure that streets are returned to township standards. It is also important that the ordinance contain a provision for repair of damage from heavy equipment. The pipeline company is a single purpose limited liability corporation. Their purpose is to build the pipeline as quickly as possible and repairing local streets is not part of their mission.
The Kidder Township Zoning Hearing Board has approved the Kidder Compressor Station. PennEast/UGI must obtain all state and federal permits before construction of the station can begin.
PennEast is a limited liability company. It was set up in this way for a specific reason---to limit the financial liability of it and its member companies. All affected municipalities should be demanding bonds in excess of the money they believe will be needed for future repair of ruined roads and damaged bridges.
PSEG or Public Services Enterprise Group has decided to divest their interest in the PennEast/UGI pipeline. Reversing a business decision like this is not taken lightly. This is a serious vote of “no confidence.” They state that the pipeline is not “within their core business model.” The fact that this pipeline is one full year behind, hugely unpopular and very likely to run into even more problems before it is built might have had something to do with this. One PennEast/UGI partner down, five more to go!!
Save Carbon County
is a member of a regional and two-state effort
to stop the PennEast/UGI pipeline.
WE MUST ACT NOW
TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING
IN CARBON COUNTY !
HOW YOU CAN HELP
SAVE CARBON COUNTY
is a local, grassroots organization devoted to stopping the PennEast/UGI pipeline.
If you would like to help us win our fight, join us at a meeting or event.
A list of upcoming events is posted below.
Make a contribution to:
Save Carbon County
P.O. Box 176
Kresgeville, PA 18333
Find us on FaceBook at “Stop the Fracking Pipeline"
Save Carbon County Members at Valentine Protest February, 2016