July 16, 2015 Kingwood Township Meeting with PennEast: Here’s What Happened . . .

Congratulations Kingwood Township Officials for pushing back against PennEast.  Way to stand up for your residents for setting an example of the right way local government should stand up for it’s citizens. Other municipalities in New Jersey — take notice!!

On July 16, 2015 Kingwood Township Mayor, Richard Dodds, Environmental Commission Chair Deborah Kratzer, and Planning Board Chair Maureen Syrnick met with PennEast representatives Andrew Sinclair (UGI), and Jack Herbert (NJR).

PennEast requested a meeting with the township to bring Kingwood up to date with the project.

Mayor Dodds recorded the entire meeting, and the audio file will be available to the public.  It is a 250 MB audio file so we are currently working on creating an efficient way to distribute.

PennEast representatives reviewed the presentation that they used in Delaware Township on June 22.  The presentation summarizes all of the same rhetoric that is available on the PennEast website.  Here is a link to download a copy of their presentation.   https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/87642468/PennEast%20Kingwood%20Meeting%2007-16-15.pdf

After PennEast gave their presentation, Mayor Dodds stated that if the pipeline is approved these are the requirements for Kingwood Township:

  1. Monitor all the wells in the Township – not just those on the properties where the proposed pipeline is sited.  The monitoring, conducted for a minimum of 10 years, should consist of pre and post construction depth to water, well capacity, and recharge reports.
  2. If any wells are negatively affected by the construction of the pipeline, Kingwood Township requires PennEast to make whole those property owners that are affected, by methods including but not limited to drilling new wells, providing potable water in perpetuity, or fee simple purchase of the property at rates based on the past 10 year high.
  3. Monitoring must be done by certified hydrologists who report to the Township and are paid for by PennEast.
  4. The same monitoring and making whole should also be done for all septic systems within the township.
  5. Any and all streams, stream buffers, wetlands, and wetland buffers must be fully delineated and avoided along the route. Delineations must be done by qualified environmental scientists who report to the Township and are paid for by PennEast.
  6. Complete two season studies must be done alone the entire route of the pipeline for all threatened and endangered species. These studies must be done by qualified environmental scientists who report to the Township and are paid for by PennEast.
  7. A complete cultural heritage survey must be done alone the entire route of the pipeline.   These studies must be done by qualified historians who report to the Township and are paid for by PennEast.
  8. All efforts must be made to eliminate the impact to any and all issues discovered in items 3 thru 5 above including but not limited to the rerouting of the pipeline, underground boring, or other techniques that would eliminate the impact to the given issue.
  9. No natural gas pipeline may be places closer than 4000 feet of an occupied structure.
  10. The cleared right-of-way be no larger than 50 feet.
  11. All Kingwood Township land owners directly impacted by the pipeline must be offered lease options and royalty payments based on the per foot volume of gas that passes through the pipeline on their property.

Below are some highlights of other topics discussed during this meeting with PennEast:

We discussed how negligent Penn East has been in understanding and acknowledging the many environmentally sensitive issues in Kingwood as well as all the NJ townships.  We stated that anyone with even minimal research can easily find far less environmentally damaging routes than the route PennEast has chosen.

Using PennEast’s Maps we pointed to just one area that is clearly forested wetland and stream corridor. After a quick look both PennEast representatives were unsure why they picked that area to go through and said they hoped that someone in their organization has reasons why.

PennEast said in the planning phase they decided to estimate a very high tax fee so they would have enough in their budget for property taxes.  PE’s Jack Herbert said that if it turns out that they overestimated the taxes in Kingwood that they will be happy to just give the township all the extra tax money that they had budgeted.

PE stated they have revised many of the Resource Reports base on comments received.  When asked why we have not seen any revised resource report since April, the PE rep recanted and said that maybe they just revised comments in the reports and not the full reports.  He promised to send us the most up-to-date info ASAP.

In addition:
PE stated they intend to bury the Pipe 5’ deep instead of 3 feet.

PE mentioned potentially putting up a fence around the pipeline if there are some sections that pose a threat.

PE mentioned they planned on narrowing the construction row in select places to minimize environmental damage.

Mayor Dodds asked if their surveyors have been on property private property without permission. PE responded that should not happen.  Sometimes there are mistakes.  The will provide supervisor phone numbers so that citizens’ can call and report any incidents.

PE’s revised date to file with FERC in mid to late September 2015.

Mayor Dodds made it clear to PennEast that no one in Kingwood Township wants their pipeline built!

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