What’s the Big Deal?

Why you should be concerned.

Here are some reasons not to build the pipeline

– Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast (Huffington Post, November 21, 2014)


This pipeline, if approved by FERC, would cut a 125-foot swath of permanent devastation for 108 miles. IN Hopewell Township alone, it would crash through more than 1200 acres; destroying legally-designated wetlands and preserved farmlands, 125+ year-old forests, and historically-certified sites in its scarring path through our community. Once you cut down a forest or disrupt the soil on a farm it isn’t coming back.  The damage is permanent. Communities in Hunterdon County, and in Pennsylvania, upstream from Mercer County and Hopewell Township, would be similarly and irreparably harmed.
pipeline construction
The effects of this new right of way pipeline would be particularly pernicious environmentally. Pipelines currently in development in New Jersey are being co-located along existing rights of way. The especially noxious PennEast pipeline targets tax payer paid for open space and preserved farmland because its cheaper and easier.  New rights of way also create a new ‘pipeline super highway’ for future pipelines and the pumping and compressor stations that can accompany them. This pipeline makes a mockery of our state preservation laws and erodes the protections they offer.

Co-location isn’t the answer. PennEast has proposed an alternate co-located route, which means the pipeline would be located on existing right of way already developed for the power grid. While this would be less destructive to forests and farmland in some areas than PennEast’s original greenfields route, the fact is we do not want nor do we need this pipeline at all. Both routes will pollute our air and water. Both routes create risks to our health and safety. Both routes violate people’s property rights.


Use of eminent domain will limit property owners and city government from exercising their rights as land owners and administrators.  The FERC has the power to grant pipeline companies the go ahead to execute eminent domain.

A private for-profit company usurping  property for an economic enterprise that is not in the interest of the residents directly impacted or the public in general, is not how we should do things in America. Taking property is a serious endeavor and should only happen in the rarest and most extraordinary circumstances. This isn’t one of them.


Hopewell Township has a rich and diverse history.  This is part of the reason that many of us moved to Hopewell Township.  It is never a sure thing that construction of this scale will leave historic properties intact. The more we know about archaeological material that has been found along the route, the stronger case we can make demanding a  detailed investigation.  Archaeological sites are non-renewable resources – you can’t un-dig a site.  It is always preferred to leave archaeological sites alone unless there is a research hypothesis to be addressed by its disturbance.


(information: Pipeline Safety Tracker)


As the horrific natural gas line explosion in San Bruno on September 9 shows us, a pipeline explosion does an incredible amount of damage to life and livelihood, claiming 8 lives and injuring at least 60 people, some critically.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found an electrical failure caused a pressure surge in the pipeline before San Bruno explosion. This means that any mechanical or electrical failure can lead to eventual explosion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there were 47 pipeline incidents in the U.S. in 2009 that caused death or serious injury.  Previous to the San Bruno explosion, there have been three other incidents in 2010. 10 people have been killed and 33 seriously injured.

According to AOL News, Jim Hall, who chaired National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration and made pipeline safety his cause. “All of these underground pipelines are potential bombs.”


Toxins released into the air from the metering station and block valves release air-borne carcinogens endangering the health of all residents in our community irrespective of where you live.
What Does a Pipeline Explosion Look Like?

Here is a small sampling which includes the local, the recent and Spectra Energy.


We need not go far to witness what can not happen when a pipeline explodes. A pipeline exploded in the middle of the night in 1994.  The results were devastating.  From the New York Times:

A natural gas pipeline explosion that awestruck witnesses compared to a blinding, scorching nuclear blast turned a neighborhood in the central New Jersey town of Edison early yesterday into a war zone of flames, panic and chaos.

» Read the Full Story on NYTimes.com

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