N.J. residents need to ‘stay strong’ in opposition to PennEast pipeline

To the editor — Hunterdon County Democrat, June 25 ,2015

To the editor:

Last week PennEast held a private meeting with the NJ State Agricultural Development Committee. PennEast reportedly used this meeting to convince officials to try to talk landowners into granting PennEast survey access.

To facilitate this, PennEast dangled big money over the committee’s heads. They indicated that for preserved farmlands, 50- to 80-percent of the easement money would go directly to the SADC. PennEast then sweetened the pot for the SADC by offering to value the land at un-preserved levels, which fetches significantly higher prices in the market than preserved land does.

The SADC fell for this offer eagerly and is now rushing to setup meetings with preserved landowners to convince them to grant survey access as soon as possible.

There are two really big problems with this. First, the SADC is an agriculture committee. Should we change it’s name to the State Pipeline Development Committee instead?

Second, this sends a message to NJ farmers to not preserve their farms and to not trust the SADC.  Why go through the pain of conservation just to have the SADC sell you out?

Stay strong landowners. PennEast is panicking because they have only 33-percent survey permission in NJ. Let’s keep it that way.

Michael Spille
West Amwell

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