News Briefs and Action Items

Rethink Energy NJ Radio Promos:

– NJ Division of Rate Counsel:
PennEast pipeline not needed
Canal walkers pledge opposition to gas pipeline

For further details and suggested talking points, visit
Here are the details on the DEP hearings for the GSE and SRL projects.  Please spread the word.  We know the unions will be there in force and need a strong turnout.  These projects are directly connected to PennEast and stopping them would be a blow to PennEast!



To help people call or write the CEOs of the owner companies, the Rethink Energy NJ website now includes an easy way to call or send a letter to the CEOs.  See and spread the word!

You can also tweet these Companies using:

and of course you can include in your tweets so we and others can follow them:

First Hearing Postponed: 

High turnout forces state to postpone pipeline hearing

Urgent Actions Needed Re: FERC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the PennEast Pipeline (FERC Docket # CP15-558-000)


Regional Business Owners, Concerned Citizens Unite Against PennEast Pipeline During Critical Comment Period


Download Study

On Friday, July 22 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed PennEast pipeline.

It is critical that you act during the next 48 days!

This DEIS is riddled with data gaps and incomplete information. It should be withdrawn until PennEast has submitted all of the required data.

Between now and September 12, there are a number of actions we must each take to show FERC our profound opposition to this dangerous, unneeded pipeline. We must make our voices heard during this important comment period.

Action #1:

Submit letters to the PennEast Docket (#CP15-558-000) to:

A. demand that FERC withdraw the DEIS;
B. demand that FERC extend the public comment period until a complete DEIS is available for review; and
C. point out specific problems in the DEIS, including assumptions, missing information, and issues that are either ignored or insufficiently addressed.

Comments submitted to FERC during this period become part of the legal record in FERC’s mandatory environmental review. Our goal is to submit as many substantial, fact-based comments as possible. Intervenors’ comments and landowners’ comments carry more weight, and FERC must respond to each relevant comment.

Directions on posting to the Docket and sample letters can be found at:

In your comments to FERC, it is important that you raise as many different points as possible. You should include detailed notes, specific data and unique stories about how you, your family, your community, and your property or business would be impacted by PennEast.

If you need help drafting or submitting your letter,

-New Jersey Conservation Foundation,
-the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association,
-Rethink Energy NJ,
-HALT PennEast (Homeowners Against Land Taking),
-the Citizens Against PennEast groups (CAPS),



Please check this site frequently for the latest details about how you can stop PennEast.

The PennEast pipeline is not needed, not wanted, and would have unacceptable impacts on our land, water and communities. Thank you for joining with us and the many organizations working together to send a strong message to FERC.

Together, let’s STOP PENNEAST!

You say you already know how to comment to FERC?

Have you been doing this PennEast thing for well-nigh two years now? Can you navigate the FERC site in your sleep (and have nightmares of doing exactly that?). Have you memorized “CP15-558?” Then feel free to dive right in and comment.

You can get the DEIS files at if you haven’t done so already. It’s 20x faster than FERC and it has yet to go down, ever.

Some tips on commenting:
• Identify yourself and your interest to FERC right at the top. The format I use is:

My name is XXXX, I am a [Intervenor][and Impacted Landowner][Concerned resident] regarding docket CP15-558-000 for the PennEast Pipeline. I live in the town of [Town, State]. I am commenting on the PennEast Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

In other words – if you an intervenor or impacted landowner, say so. It raises your status up. And also be CRYSTAL CLEAR that you’re commenting on the DEIS.

Here are some samples – but TRY TO WRITE YOUR OWN if you can!

See DEIS Sample Letters

  • Try to keep one major overarching topic per submission.  In the past FERC and PennEast have taken people’s lengthy submissions covering many topics, and ignored half of them.  Don’t let that happen to you!  Pick a topic (safety, water, what have you) and stick to just that topic for your submission.  Then make another one.  And another one.
  • If you get stuck in writing, don’t sweat it.  We all get writers block.  But the good news is that we’re not writing a best selling novel.  We’re writing stuff for bureaucrats to read.  So they won’t mind if you’re not the next Steven King.

One tip if you’re stuck: bullet points.  Just put out bullets of the major points you want to make.  If you can’t get past the bullets, then just submit those.  But you’ll be surprised – many times the act of putting bullets down in writing gets the juices flowing and you’ll find that stress melting away and a natural way forward.

Possible Comment topics

If it helps, here are the major sticking points for us in regards to the DEIS and the PennEast proposal as a whole.  These aren’t definitive by a long shot – these are just the things we see as obvious candidates for comments.

  • The DEIS is incomplete and it is unfair to put it before citizens in such a state
  • The comment period is too short, especially during summer vacation seasons
  • FERC outages exacerbate the short comment period!
  • There is no demonstrated public need for this project.  Numerous studies show this project is being undertaken for the private gain of 6 companies and not for the good of the people of NJ and Eastern PA.
  • The DEIS indicates a 2017-inservice date when PennEast themselves have admitted they cannot be inservice before 2018.
  • 70% of impacted landowners in NJ have refused all attempts at surveying their land.  This implies 70% of the land or more in NJ will have to be seized via eminent domain.  70% eminent domain is an atrocious figure that should be appalling to any agency, and doubly so given the demonstrated lack of public need
  • Direct economic tourism impact on Lambertville/Frenctown/Millford and other towns not being considered adequately
  • Indirect tourism impacts (hikers, bikers, equestrians, etc) also not considered adequately, including major areas such as Appalachian Trail, Baldpate, Lehigh River, Delaware River, etc. not considered adequately
  • Impact on conservation programs (who will preserve land if companies like PennEast can take it?) not addressed by DEIS
  • Traffic considerations during construction (school bus routes, small roads and bridges, few alternative road choices) not addressed properly in DEIS
  • Personal impacts!  Their house, their farm, their business, their families, their lives
  • Impacts to local features near them (Baldpate, Goat Hill, Gravel Hill, Alexuaken Creek Preserve, Copper Creek Preserve, Delaware River, Swan Creek Reservoir, on and on…)
  • Drinking water,  wells, septic.  Drinking water,  wells, septic.  Drinking water,  wells, septic.  Drinking water,  wells, septic.  Drinking water,  wells, septic.   (you get the idea)
  • Concerns about Arsenic and Radon not addressed in DEIS
  • Trenching through people’s driveways, farm access roads not addressed in DEIS
  • Deliberate nearness of proposed route to homes, route no adequately defended in DEIS
  • Deliberately ignoring NJ safety rules in favor of inadequate Federal standards – we get a pipe that has a 50% smaller safety margin then we would otherwise have
  • Major studies controverting PennEast studies are not mentioned in the DEIS (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, NJCF/Stony Brook Millstone WaterShed Association, West Amwell Citizens Against the Pipeline, Skipping Stone, Labyrinth Consulting and others).
  • The Tetra Tech employees researching the DEIS are under qualified and the DEIS is obviously not done competently
  • Cumulative impacts are not properly considered (Southern Reliability Link, Garden State Expansion, BL England conversion, Blue Mountain resort Expansion, Marc II Pipeline, future Spectra plans
  • The “No Action” Alternative is incomplete, has no citations or facts, and does not conform to NEPA.
  • The other Systemic Alternatives are incomplete, have no citations of fact, and do not conform to NEPA
  • No market studies were included in the DEIS, only the existence of shippers (the infamous Concentric “you could have saved $890 million if we had a time machine” report is not mentioned anywhere in the DEIS).

In possible victory for pipeline foes, EPA calls for rethinking of Atlantic Sunrise
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging another federal regulator to consider alternatives for a hotly contested natural gas pipeline project in central Pennsylvania, in what seems like a win for pipeline foes but could also prove a hollow victory in the end. More

Pipeline News from around NJ: Feds tell Transco not to proceed on pipeline – for now

By Greg Wright | For
on July 06, 2016 at 6:15 PM, updated July 06, 2016 at 6:22 PM

 BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has denied a request to begin construction on portions of the Transco Pipeline until builders have the required environmental documentation. More

PennEast pipeline inspires bill to regulate federal agency

By Greg Wright | For
on June 29, 2016 at 6:59 PM

Hopewell Township — Dozens gathered atop Baldpate Mountain preserve in Hopewell Township on Wednesday to endorse U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s plan to propose a bill in Congress to revamp pipeline approvals.

Watson Coleman said she will introduce the Safe and Accountable Federal Energy Review for Pipelines Act of 2016, or SAFER Pipelines Act.

Dozens of affected residents also attended the announcement at the scenic backdrop of Baldpate, near sites where the proposed PennEast pipeline will carve through their land.



TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION: Send a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers

This is an URGENT Request form the HALT PennEast lead attorney, Steve Richardson of Wiley Rein. The time is short to respond to the two US Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) section 408 permit requests that PennEast has pending.  We are asking that all homeowners impacted or potentially impacted in both PA and NJ and supporters of HALT send a letter to the US Army Corp of Enginners regarding a pending PennEast application in response to the Corps’ request for comments.  The more letters that are sent, the more pressure is placed on the Corps to do the right thing. Impacted Homeowners and Concerned Citizens can download their respective for emailing to USACE from Delaware Township’s DTCAP site.


Opponents Ask Feds to Force Penneast to Prove Pipeline is Really Needed

A group opposing the pipeline has filed a complaint with FERC arguing New Jersey doesn’t need the natural gas that PennEast would deliver

A group opposing the PennEast pipeline in New Jersey urged a federal agency to hold a formal hearing into whether there is a need for the project, arguing the applicant has failed to demonstrate the state needs the natural gas. More

PennEast Pipeline In A Tailspin Of Delay And Uncertainty As Opposition By Legislators, Regulators, And The Public Grows

STOCKTON, N.J., June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — According to ReThink Energy NJ, PennEast’s proposed pipeline project in NJ and PA is considerably delayed in gaining necessary approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state agencies, affected by the trend of beleaguered gas pipeline projects throughout the U.S., and widespread, growing opposition by legislators, regulatory agencies and the public. More

Letter from PA republican Congressman Fitzpatrick (newly on board) to FERC that was recently sent requesting an evidentiary hearing

Fitzpatrick letter to FERC

PennEast Pipeline opposition hardens as gas firm seeks federal approval

Protesters kayak in opposition of PennEast pipeline at NJ Sierra Club-organized rally

See full news report and video from WFMZ TV 69.

FERC grants rehearing for Transco pipeline project

By Greg Wright | For
on June 10, 2016 at 2:15 PM, updated June 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP — In a move that’s being called a “first win” by environmentalists, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted a rehearing for further consideration of the Transco pipeline project.  More


Preparing for Release of FERC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Preparing for Release of FERC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
We have been asking for a suspension of FERC’s Environmental Impact Study. BUT… we need to be prepared in the event that a DEIS does come out sooner rather than later. While there have been many delays due to PennEast’s lack of substantive and accurate information in it’s resource reports to FERC, FERC has been continuing to work on the DEIS.

We will, of course, keep you informed and let you know of upcoming ‘hands on’ workshops that will be held after the DEIS drops to help you draft your comments. If you are an intervenor, this is especially important.

Read below the comments of WCAP’s MIke Spille about the possible upcoming DEIS from his Cost of the Pipeline website.

What is the DEIS?
The DEIS is a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document that FERC is required to create by law. What this document is supposed to do is to show all of the potential damage the the project could cause, and all of the things that are proposed to mitigate those damages, and then indicate whether this is creating an unacceptable amount of damage to the human environment, or not.

– This is the “draft” version, so this is FERC’s initial cut.
– We don’t know exactly when the DEIS is going to be released.
– Once it does, we only have 45 days to comment.
– And the DEIS forms the legal record for objections to the project.

Here’s how the timeline works:
• Sept 2015: Company files their application.
• ??? 2016: FERC publishes their DEIS (could be anytime in the next 0-3 months).
• ??? 2016 + 45 days: End of DEIS comment period.
• Dec 2016: FERC states they’ll publish their Final EIS (FEIS).
• Jan-Mar 2017: FERC could publish their final order approving or rejecting the schedule.

So here’s what everyone has to do: start considering what you want to say in objection to PennEast. Get your list together. Start talking to your friends and neighbors and family. Get ready. Think about your property, your neighborhood, your job, and all the potential impacts. Think about the small country roads we travel. School bus schedules. Where your well and septic system are. Tourism impacts, historical districts. Runoff, endangered species. Any potential impact needs to get documented, and we need as many people as possible doing it.

And meanwhile…you can’t file them yet. They have to be filed AFTER the DEIS comes out to be part of the legal record.

It’s like the army – hurry up and wait!
But this is really important people. FERC is required to answer every single objection to the DEIS that is filed on the docket. And any lawsuits against PennEast or FERC have to be based on information in those docket comments. So this is our one shot – these 45 days will be critical.

Keep an eye on this website for upcoming meetings about this, and, when the DEIS drops for real, be prepared to hit the ground running and get those comments in.


Patty in DC with Mayors on May 11, 2016

May 11

With Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in DC with the mayors. Thanks Congresswoman Coleman for ALL you do  !

PDay 2016 

8,000 sign anti-pipeline petition

Results of regional petition opposing proposed 118-mile PennEast natural gas pipeline announced

By Frank Mustac, Special Writer, Wednesday, May 11, 2016 — Hopewell Township Mayor Kevin Kuchinski was among a group of bipartisan elected officials who joined conservation leaders and citizens’ groups at the State Capitol in Trenton on Tuesday, morning May 10 to announce the results of a regional petition opposing the proposed 118-mile PennEast natural gas pipeline.

The petition received more than 8,000 signatures from citizens across 2,000 zip codes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline. The non-profit organization was also represented at the event held on the steps of the State House in Trenton. More

Breaking News . . .

PennEast Pipeline opponents update residents on progress

By JOHN SIEVERS (Bucks County Herald)

Opponents of the PennEast Pipeline updated area residents on the status of the pipeline process and what is being done to fight it.

An informal poll of about 90 attendees of an April 25 meeting found that only a handful are in the path of the proposed pipeline and many others had never attended a citizens’ pipeline meeting before.

“It used to be that nobody fights the pipeline,” said Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth, a Pennsylvania pipeline opposition group. “Now everyone does.” Read the complete story.

Lawsuit says PennEast illegally surveying residents’ property

From Seven residents in Mercer and Hunterdon counties whose property is in the path of the proposed $1.2 billion PennEast pipeline on Monday filed a lawsuit against the company claiming PennEast has been illegally surveying their property without permission. Read the complete story.

Natural gas explosion rocks Westmoreland County and U.S. gas markets

By Anya Litvak / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A natural gas pipeline explosion in Westmoreland County Friday morning sent an injured man to the hospital, damaged two homes, charred trees and melted a road, with the intense blaze that followed triggering waves of sound, heat and panic through the surrounding area.

A large Texas Eastern transmission line — 30 inches in diameter — burst open around 8:15 a.m. in Salem, shooting flames into the sky that could be seen for miles. Residents reported hearing a deafening gush of air. Read the complete story.

Followup Report: Corrosion found on gas pipeline that exploded in Westmoreland County

The Texas Eastern pipeline explosion that injured one man, damaged several homes and disrupted gas flows to the Northeast last week involved a pipeline that federal investigators said had corroded in at least two places.

And finally, a great resource . . .
Construction Maps @

This website contains PennEast construction maps broken down by township.  These are for the route proposed in September 2015 filing with FERC.  This is still a work in progress so if your township or land is not on this site please contact us at


HALT PennEast Files Formal Protest With FERC

Published APRIL 27, 2016 by ThinkAgain

Read more.

Homeowners Against Land Taking PennEast filed a formal protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning unauthorized communications between the commission and PennEast staff.

On Earth Day, Homeowners Against Land Taking (HALT) PennEast filed a formal protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concerning unauthorized off-the-record and ex parte communications between FERC professional staff and PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC (PennEast) executives and attorneys. On April 20, 2016, FERC and PennEast conducted a ‘project update conference call’ that violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and FERC’s own rules.  Read more.

Energy Expert Analysis Debunks PennEast Justification for Proposed Pipeline — Only Purpose Is Profit

Energy Expert Analysis Debunks PennEast Justification for Proposed Pipeline — Only Purpose Is Profit

New Jersey Conservation Foundation Calls on FERC to Halt Review and Investigate Claims

FAR HILLS, N.J. (March 11, 2016) — PennEast’s claims that its proposed pipeline is needed to supply New Jersey with additional natural gas capacity and will reduce gas prices for consumers are not substantiated according to a report conducted for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. In the analysis prepared by Skipping Stone, a nationally recognized energy consulting firm, it also notes that introduction of the pipeline’s capacity to the region would actually increase costs to the region’s ratepayers, not decrease them as PennEast alleges.

The report concluded that regulators should not rely merely on the existence of contracts to assess need, since most of the customers purchasing capacity on PennEast are also affiliated with PennEast owners. Instead, the primary motivation for the project appears to be the potential high return on capital for owners of PennEast.

“This analysis provides concrete data to conclude that PennEast’s justifications for the proposed pipeline do not hold water,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director — Energy, Climate and Natural Resources for New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which commissioned the Skipping Stone research. “The PennEast pipeline is not needed and ratepayers will bear the cost. Profit by the private companies that own PennEast is not justification for building a pipeline, nor the use of eminent domain to take private property.”

“Based on this compelling analysis, we call upon FERC to immediately suspend review of PennEast’s application and to initiate a full-evidentiary hearing to determine what demand is supposedly being met by the proposed pipeline,” Gilbert stated. “The project should be rejected without a demonstration of public need.”

Gilbert also notes that according to the report:

Local gas distribution companies in the Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey market have more than enough firm delivery capacity to meet the needs of customers during peak winter periods. The analysis shows there is currently 49.9% more delivery capacity than needed to meet even the harsh winter experienced in 2013 (the Polar Vortex Winter).

There are alternative ways for providers of gas-fired electric generation to meet their need for electric reliability more cost-effectively by using either natural gas from LNG facilities or dual fuel. Natural gas pipelines in the northeast are typically fully utilized between 10 and 30 days a year to meet peak demand in the winter. Building a pipeline that is only fully utilized for a short period of time is not a cost effective way to provide reliable electricity.

The impact of PennEast may well be to increase, rather than decrease, costs to gas customers. The PennEast pipeline would be capable of transporting 1 billion cubic feet of gas daily, displacing gas from existing pipelines. Analysis of two existing pipelines shows that the value of capacity on those pipelines would decrease, costing ratepayers between $130 million and $230 million annually in lost revenues. Additionally, to the extent excess capacity causes existing pipelines in the region to experience loss of contracting by customers, FERC rules permit those existing pipelines to file for rate increases on remaining customers to recover lost revenues.

PennEast claims of potential savings for gas consumers or electric generation customers are based on faulty assumptions and analysis. The price spike experience during the Polar Vortex is unlikely to be repeated and does not, alone, justify the addition of new pipeline capacity. PennEast does not address evidence that similar price spikes did not occur in Winter 2014/2015; nor the important changes made in electric markets since 2013 that reduce dependence on constrained natural gas pipelines during peak demand periods because of reliance on fuel oil and LNG.

FERC should not rely on non-arms-length transactions as a foundation for finding market need. New Jersey Natural Gas, PSEG, South Jersey Gas, and Elizabethtown Gas have purchased 50% of the total capacity of the pipeline, while their corporate affiliates own 70% of PennEast. While the parent companies will benefit from their ownership of PennEast, those companies’ customers — ratepayers — bear the risk of paying for the PennEast capacity for 15 years. The contracts are essentially between parent companies and their own affiliates and therefore cannot by themselves represent a true demonstration of market need.

The Skipping Stone report can be found at:

PennEast Solicitations!

PennEast phone calls

Many people have reported receiving calls from what sounds like a sweet little old lady who wants to discuss the many benefits of the proposed PennEast pipeline.  PennEast is striving to recruit individuals who are willing to be connected to the office of Leonard Lance so that they can tell the NJ Congressman that they are in favor of the project.  I have the number that the calls are coming from:


If you see this number on your caller ID & you’re feeling creative, you could answer & either play along until you’re connected to the Congressman’s office, at which point you can express your opposition to the pipeline, or you could simply argue the merits of what the woman is pushing.

The way we see it is that, rather than the “done deal” that PennEast representatives have insinuated the pipeline is all along, PennEast is feeling the pressure of our hard work in opposing them at every step of their  plan to destroy our land & communities.  Why would they be paying someone to make cold calls begging for support if they have such a solid plan?

Keep up the good work and keep reaching out to  our elected officials!

Press Release from HALT PennEast attorney

Wiley Rein Represents HALT PennEast in Effort to Stop Construction of New Jersey Gas Pipeline

February 4, 2016

Washington, DC—In an effort to stop Federal approval  of a proposed $1.2 billion PennEast natural gas pipeline in New Jersey’s Mercer and Hunterdon counties, homeowners who could be directly impacted have joined forces to create the group HALT PennEast (Homeowners Against Land Taking). Wiley Rein LLP has been retained by HALT PennEast for the effort with a team led by Steven Richardson, partner in the firm’s Environment & Safety Practice and former deputy director of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. Federal and state lawmakers also have joined forces with HALT PennEast in calling for the pipeline’s review process to be restarted because environmental and market questions posed by federal regulators have gone unanswered by project sponsors.

Commenting on the launch of HALT PennEast, Mr. Richardson said: “Given the unprecedented level of energy infrastructure development that is occurring across the United States, it now is more important than ever that natural gas pipeline companies engage with the communities in which they propose to operate in a respectful, informative, and clear manner. HALT PennEast was created, in part, because PennEast has utterly failed to treat landowners fairly or respectfully.”

The planned 114-mile natural gas pipeline would originate in Pennsylvania and cut through Hunterdon and Mercer counties, terminating with another existing pipeline in Hopewell Township. Proposed by six major natural gas companies, including all four major companies in New Jersey, the PennEast Pipeline project is currently pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). While PennEast officials have said the pipeline would lower utility bills and that PennEast will work to restore property disruption caused by the construction, the affected community has remained steadfast in its opposition.

“Contrary to PennEast’s assumptions, the outcome of its FERC application is not a certainty,” Mr. Richardson said. “Based on our experience, 1,400 parties do not intervene at FERC when an application is well conceived and executed, or when there is clear and convincing evidence that the project provides a public benefit. Taking the HALT PennEast landowners’ property, businesses, and cultural and historic treasures for the benefit of this unnecessary, greenfield pipeline would be unjust and irresponsible. Granting eminent domain authority for PennEast would eliminate the distinction between private and public use of property, effectively deleting the words ‘for public use’ from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. HALT PennEast is determined to stop this ill-advised project.”

Wily Rein’s Environment & Safety Practice represents businesses and trade associations at both the federal and state levels and in international forums. The group is a recognized leader in handling pesticide and chemical competition and regulatory matters, battery and electronics industry issues, the regulation of the transportation of hazardous products, environmentally-based land use programs such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the laws applicable to product stewardship. The Practice publishes a periodic environment newsletter, Natural Resources and Endangered Species Report that  examines natural resources law and policy matters from land use disputes, climate change, and energy  to Endangered Species Act litigation.