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!

NJ DEP FERC COMMENT – Hold the Course – Keep saying NO to surveying!

READ THE ENTIRE NJ DEP COMMENT TO FERC

NJDEP FERC comment 7.14.15.tiff

Our efforts to stop PennEast from having access to and surveying our lands is working!  The NJ Department of Environmental Protection is stating that they CAN’T issues permits to PennEast if they don’t complete the surveys!

Only 33% of NJ land has allowed survey. We are standing together against PennEast.

GREAT WORK EVERYONE!  HOLD THE LINE!  SAY “NO!” TO SURVEYING!

If you need to let PennEast know (or remind them) that you don’t allow access to your land, here’s the letter to refuse survey.   Be on the lookout. Surveyors are all over the area and have been cited trespassing.  If surveyors are on your property without your permission, you are within your rights to call the police and file a police report.

Rescind_permission_to_survey_letter

Save the Date! July 28th Upcoming Hopewell Township Board of Health Hearing on PennEast

Tuesday, JULY 28th, 7:00PM
Hopewell Valley Central High School
We’re asking EVERYONE to show up to this one and bring your concerns about health and safety! Ask the Board of Health to make a strong statement to FERC that the PennEast pipeline would pose too high a risk to us all. We’ll post more information about this event soon.

In the meantime, keep reading….

Local landowner takes FERC to task over safety

This FERC comment from HTCAPP member Kim Robinson came through this week.  One fo many great FERC comments from Kim; she really makes a strong statement.

http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=13927882

“July 11, 2015
Re: Docket PF15-1
Dear FERC Commissioners,
In August 2014, we received a letter from the PennEast Pipeline Company informing us that our property had been identified as an “abutting” property in relation to its proposed pipeline project. As a concerned land owner and member of the public, I have tried to participate in the FERC’s established process to express concerns regarding the project. Unfortunately, either the established process is flawed, or my primary concerns are simply being ignored by all parties, including the FERC.
The FERC hosted a few “Scoping” meetings, including the one I attended on February 25, 2015 in West Trenton, NJ. Not only was there a severe shortage of parking, requiring some people to park quite far from the venue (one friend had to park about eight blocks away, and many who could not walk that far had no choice but to go home), but there was not enough time for those who COULD attend to speak, and the FERC did not schedule another meeting for that location or nearby. Nevertheless, I arrived an hour before the meeting began and I did get to speak. My entire verbal comment was regarding how PennEast plans to build and install a physically safer pipe for individuals who live in a densely populated area than it will for individuals who live in a rural area. So the child living in, say, Bethlehem, PA will be provided with a thicker (and therefore SAFER) pipeline than will my child. I consider this to be clear discrimination, and I said so at the Scoping meeting.

On February 27, 2015, I submitted a written scoping comment to the PennEast docket on the FERC’s website (http://elibrary.ferc.gov:1/IDMWS/file_list.asp?document_id=14307436) regarding various aspects of pipeline safety – specifically detailing the discriminatory differences in construction as mentioned above, but also discussing the psychological impacts of living near a pipeline, recent cyber security breaches, lack of knowledge and withholding of knowledge on the part of PennEast, issues with the current calculation of Potential Impact Radii, and the fact that the pipeline industry as a whole has YET to conquer the basic task of using proper materials and construction techniques. As I show in that earlier comment, only 25.6% of gas transmission HCA failures are due to third party interference. The majority are due to pipeline materials, construction methods, equipment and incorrect operations.

I looked forward to PennEast’s response to my many concerns. But when in March they posted their responses to the scoping comments, not only did they have me listed in Table 4 (Other Stakeholders) rather than Table 3 (Property Owners and Abutters), but they did not list or address my specific concerns at all! They simply had my name in a long list of names under a category they called:

“Health and Safety
– Potential for pipeline leaks, methane release
– Pipeline proximity to schools”
which was followed by general language about how they will follow Federal regulations and how PennEast will be part of the 1-Call system, etc. It was no response at all, and had absolutely no meaning when it comes to the specific concerns I raised. See this “response” below:
PennEast will comply with the pipeline safety standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) (49 CFR §190-199). Pipelines are the safest, most  environmentally-friendly and efficient mode of transporting energy, according to PHMSA. Data shows that while natural gas demand has increased, serious pipeline incidents have decreased by 90 percent over the past three decades alone, primarily as a result of significant efforts by pipeline companies to upgrade and modernize their infrastructure. Transportation by pipeline is the safest mode of transportation.

Safety is PennEast’s highest priority when designing pipelines. PennEast adopts design features and operating practices that meet or exceed stringent industry and regulatory standards. PennEast will regularly walk the PennEast Pipeline, conduct
leak surveys and send sensor equipment through the line to make sure integrity has not been compromised. PennEast will continuously monitor (24/7/365) how much gas is transported through the system, operating pressures and temperatures throughout the system, and other critical operating data. This is done in real-time through our gas control center. Should any unusual data surface, PennEast will immediately dispatch field personnel to address the issue and protect the community. Additionally, the pipeline will be clearly marked at all road crossings, creeks, property lines, and fence lines to minimize the potential for third party damage. PennEast will be a member of the national 1-Call system (Dial 811) that requires anyone performing excavations to call 3 days prior so that the line can be located and marked in the area of excavation. Local emergency response and management personnel will receive emergency response training prior to the Project being placed into service and on an ongoing basis thereafter. Necessary information and instructions regarding the facilities will be provided to local emergency response and management personnel. A plan will be in place for coordination between PennEast and local emergency response and management personnel in the event of an incident. PennEast is designing the Project to exceed federal safety regulations in many important areas, including: The pipe material will meet and generally exceed the API-5L requirements; Class 2 pipe will be installed in all Class 1 locations in order to increase safety factory; 100 percent nondestructive inspection of mainline welds (for example 49 CRF 192 requires only 10 percent of the welds to be tested in Class 1 locations); and Prior to placing the line into service, the pipe will be hydrostatically tested at a maximum pressure that will exceed industry standards identified in 49 CFR 192. The high grade steel utilized in the manufacture of the pipeline makes pipe deterioration less of a concern for projects such as PennEast. No pesticides will be used in the maintenance of the pipeline ROW. Resource Report 11 – Reliability and Safety will evaluate the overall safety of the  Project through construction and pipeline operation and presents the extensive safety measures, emergency procedures, and oversight that will be adopted and implemented for the Project.  I would be thrilled if you could point out where in this “response” any of my specific concerns from my scoping comment are addressed, but I know that’s an impossible task.

In April, PennEast issued supplemental responses to the scoping comments. Again, I got my hopes up. Again, they were dashed. Again, I was not listed in the Abutters’ Table 3, but in Table 4 for other “stakeholders”. Again, the safety boilerplate response appeared, not addressing ANY of my specific concerns.

So I must ask. Does the FERC REALLY want an effective process wherein landowners’, abutters’ and other stakeholders’ questions and concerns are addressed by the pipeline companies, or is the FERC satisfied with simply the APPEARANCE of such a process? Based on my experience so far, I’d say the latter.

I think it’s clear that if the FERC returns anything but a No-Build decision on this ludicrous project, the matter WILL be brought to court, and FERC’s processes, which from my own experience can only be described as a sham, will be brought under scrutiny. And if God-forbid a safety incident occurs before the project is shut down, I think it’s also clear that the individual liability of the FERC commissioners themselves will be brought into question for approving such a project where numerous safety concerns were not addressed.

Thank you.
Kim Robinson”

2 Important Must-Attend Events Coming Up

Your support is needed!
Thursday, July 23 @7:00pm
Where: Prallsville Mill in Stockton

Landowners rights meeting July 23rd  Prallsmill House (RSVP by July 21st*)

NJCF & Delaware Riverkeeper Network holding meeting to discuss landowner rights.  An attorney will be present to answer general questions.

* RSVP to alix@njconservation.org by July 21st

Note: Surveyors have been spotted throughout Delaware and other neighboring townships.  Consider attending the landowners rights meeting to make you better prepared even if you are not directly impacted by the known proposed routes. Inform your neighbors.

August 22, 2015
March Against the Pipeline

March Aug 22 Save the Date

The many townships and organizations in NJ and PA impacted by the pipeline and under the leadership of The Clean Air Council, The Delaware River Keeper, and  Berks Gas Truth are organizing a rally and march across the Delaware River on August 22, 2015.  March will begin in Upper Black Eddy, Pa over DE River Bridge into Milford, NJ. We are expecting to have a large turnout including media coverage.  However, we need your help in making event a reality.

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

Special Message Courtesy: Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline

Dear friends,

Thanks to those of you who signed our petition to the Delaware River Basin Commission calling for seven public hearings along the proposed PennEast route.

Thanks and apologies to those of you who had trouble with the link and let us know.

We need to get the petition to the printer first thing Monday morning, so please help us get as many signatures as possible this weekend.

To make things easier all around, we’ve created a MoveOn version of the petition that should eliminate any problems with the link.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/come-to-me-drbc?mailing_id=29626&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=12538053

Please help us send a strong message to the DRBC that a two-minute comment at one joint DRBC/FERC public hearing is not nearly adequate for you to share your concerns!

Thank you!
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth
Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline

Local residents speak out at FERC.

Local residents speak out at FERC.

FERC profiled the public and refused entry to many wanting to attend their monthly public meeting. Accusing many people who had never even been to FERC before of previously causing disturbances, they kept them from the meeting by shuffling them off into an “overflow” room.

Write to FERC and demand that they not treat ordinary citizens this way.

Related Articles:
GUEST OPINION: Residents critical of Penn East meetings
LETTER: PennEast fails to address pipline objections from residents, towns
Residents along PennEast pipeline route say questions left unanswered

PennEast Hypes Pipeline’s Consumer Benefits in New Report that Contradicts Study Commissioned by Philadelphia City Council

DOWNLOAD REPORT: Energy Market Savings – Report and Analysis

RELATED NEWS: Environmental groups seek federal investigation into PennEast Pipeline application

The PennEast Pipeline Company issued a new report titled, “Energy Market Savings – Report and Analysis” that exaggerates the consumer benefits of their proposed pipeline, much in the way the report they commissioned last month hyped economic benefits. Concentric Energy Advisors, a Massachusetts-based consulting firm commissioned to prepare the analysis, is the same firm that Philadelphia City Council paid at least $425,000 to analyze the proposed sale of PGW, the city’s gas works. That report referred to “caveats” with the PennEast pipeline and the Diamond East, a pipeline proposed by Williams.

According to the analysis presented to the City Council:

First, even though current futures prices indicate that Marcellus prices are likely to remain low, as new pipeline capacity is developed that allows Marcellus gas to reach new markets, the Marcellus prices are likely to eventually increase (and basis differentials relative to the Gulf Coast decrease). This will decrease the potential benefits to PGW’s sales customers from a new pipeline that connects the Marcellus to the Philadelphia market area.

The glaring contradiction between the reports is just one of the problems. Community groups and environmental organizations opposing the PennEast pipeline noted flaws with today’s report.

“PennEast has done it again,” said Sam Koplinka-Loehr, shale gas organizer with the Clean Air Council. “The company continues to cherry-pick facts. For one, PennEast highlights high gas and electricity prices from a few days in the 2013-2014 winter rather than looking at regional trends. If they chose the 2014-2015 winter instead, the entire argument goes up in smoke as gas prices in this region only went above $10 per million British Thermal Units once this winter according to Natural Gas Intelligence. Furthermore, in the past three months alone, FERC has approved an additional 835,000 dekatherms per day of gas capacity to Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey along the Columbia and Transco lines. This is just shy of what PennEast would carry and was completely ignored in the report. The bottom line is that the report missed the point that PennEast is unnecessary and a horrible misuse of billions of dollars.”

“A hint of desperation is in the air, maybe more than a hint,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth. “Two reports in two months that are hyperbolic, to put it politely, suggest that PennEast knows it’s not winning public approval.”

“The new claim by PennEast is more hot air. The consumer savings are false assumptions since the price of natural gas is set by the overall market, not just in one area. There will not be a reduction in price since natural gas is a commodity and the price is set nationally. Also, there are other pipelines coming on line bringing gas to the region including TGP, Columbia, and Transco. PennEast’s report does not even take those other pipelines into account,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

“New Jersey plants were already burning gas and the additional electrical costs were based on peak demand, not on gas availability. There is no guarantee the gas from this pipeline would stay here. It could just as easily be exported from the Cove Point LNG Terminal in Maryland. This report is about as accurate as the phony PennEast-Drexel University report paid for by PennEast to professors with a conflict of interest. The reason PennEast keeps spinning with reports is because the public opposes this pipeline. This pipeline is unneeded, unnecessary and unwanted. We need this destructive pipeline like we need another flood,” said Tittel.

“The Concentric study is flawed in its assumptions. It bases its numbers on the WHOLE STATES of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, not just on the parts served by Penn East. According to the study, in the last 5 years, demand has gone up in the whole region of PA and NJ only about 1/3 of the capacity of the Penn East Pipeline. Additional pipelines approved since that time have already met that demand. This is an example of how PennEast can manipulate statistics to suit its own purposes. How about a study that shows how prices have dropped and the gas industry has cut back on production since last year?” said Nancy Wilson, Holland Township Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline.

“The US consumer of natural gas will never see their utility bills be more affordable by any pipeline built. Pipelines are simply a way to facilitate the export of this commodity.  By now we know that is the endgame here. With five bills just delivered to Congress that would expressly facilitate and streamline the process of exporting our natural gas to other countries, there can no longer be any doubt of this.  And just like milk prices which soared in the U.S. last year because of increased demand by foreign markets, so too will gas prices rise once the industry moves to export. Except that LNG is a much more damaging export than milk. Pennsylvania and other states with shale deposits will have their lands destroyed, their water compromised and their citizens sentenced to live in an extraction colony, all the while not receiving one ounce of benefit from any pipeline. In PennEast’s case PA and NJ will assume all the risk, private corporations rake in the profit, and our children will have to clean up the mess that is left behind,” said Elizabeth Balogh, Founding Member of Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline.

“The only thing that will truly “change the game” is sustainability.  Any energy “savings” from PennEast’s proposed natural gas line can be countered by the immeasurable damages done to our earth, water, and air.  Why risk such a compromise. Rather than continue to invest in energy sources that do more harm than good, choose to divest from this fossil foolishness today, and protect our precious aquifers from the inevitable harm that furthering such fossil fuel infrastructure will do,” said Arianne Elinich, Founding Member of Bucks County Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline.

“PennEast execs must not have done very well in math class, as they continue, with this report, to only look at one side of the equation.  Surely they will eventually have to issue a huge report showing the overwhelming environmental, human, business, monetary and societal costs of the project, none of which have yet been mentioned.  Perhaps they need a special shipment of paper for that one?” said Kim Robinson, Hopewell Township.

DOWNLOAD REPORT: Energy Market Savings – Report and Analysis