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As Hopewell Township prepares to pass a resolution against the construction of the Penneast pipeline, it has opened up its mic for public comment. Here’s what is happening live.

7:12 – Patty Cronheim, representing Hopewell Township Citizens Against the Penneast Pipeline: Thanked the Committee. Also spoke about how everyone in the town is passionate and committed to the area. “We want to thank you for bring forth the resolution and looking forward to working with you as partners against Penneast.”

7:16 – Jim Waltman, Executive Director of Stonybrook Millstone Watershed Association: Wants to start by thanking the committee for bringing forth the resolution and for hosting Penneast to ask questions. “Your work and the work of your predecessors is what makes Hopewell Valley and Township what it is today.” The pipeline is a serious threat to the Township and strongly oppose the pipeline project. SMWA is committed to do what they can.

7:18 – Kevin Kuchinski: The pipeline threatens the open space and rural character; Listened patiently when Penneast spoke but it was clear they were only concerned about their own economic interests; Concerned about who will pay if there is a leak — the wells, the drinking water — or an explosion; The proposed pipeline would permanently mar the land. Ask Township that we send a clear message to Penneast and asks that the Township pass the resolution.

7:21 – Katherine Dresdner: This pipeline is the only one that is not co-locating with other right of ways. There is a clear conflict between expenditure of public funds and the right for corporations to come into people’s properties. Thanks the Committee and is dedicated to working against the pipeline.

Public Comment Closed.

7:23 – John Hart: Says that he read this into the record at the Freeholder’s meeting; Talked about his history in the area, being a farmer, and talked about his opposition to the pipeline for gas leak and explosion concerns and the Ewing explosion; Talked about the well water and its effect on the appearance of open space; Said pipeline might effect property values and insurance costs and the public good.

7:25 – Steve Goodell, Township attorney: Spoke about the overall language. Sets up as stating Township’s position clearly and then as time goes along, more reasoned arguments can be incorporated.

7:27 – Allen Cannon: Talked about public engagement and the value of the public’s strong clear message to guide representation.

7:28 – Harvey Lester: Is not happy with the strength of the language of the resolution; Wants it to be titled and worded that the Township is both in opposition and is intervening; Simply communicating that we are concerned about the general effects of the pipeline is less impactful than saying, “The proposed route of the pipeline crosses X number of C1 streams…” for example. Lester also talked about painting a picture of what the landscape would look like to have a clear-cut through mature woods.

7:35 – Steve Goodell says that the resolution permits the Township to be intervening at several stages along the way saying in detail why a particular environmental statement is more compelling, etc. through public comment and making objections known to FERC. The fact that we don’t load it up on the front end is not as important than getting our foot in the door this way and then allows up to particulate in the process and gather facts to submit comments that are well reasoned.

7:37 – Changing the title of the resolution to include opposition as well that the resolution authorizes administration to intervene.

7:39 – Todd Brant: Wants the resolution not to be specific to Penneast.

7:40 – Steve Goodell: It is more impactful to specifically object to this pipeline.

7:43 – Mayor Vanessa Sandom: Wants to send the resolution to the other municipalities to possibly to use as a template and also to combine efforts. Legal representation will be expensive and wants to know how this can be funded.

7:44 – Steve Goodell: advices that the groups should get together and figure out whether they want to split the costs; there will be conflict efforts and issues of collecting;

7:45 – Mayor Sandom: Wants to know next step and long term and short term strategy

7:46 – Lester wants to know whether the County or State are opposing this project; thinks we need to go federal to get everyone involved. And wants to make sure Hopewell Township gets the word out

7:48 – Sandom: Penneast provides no benefit and great deal of harm to the Township; Talked about co-locatig with existing pipelines and the scarring effect on the Valley and the intention targeting of open space; No benefit of employment or gas service; Urges everyone to say NO to this pipeline.

RESOLUTION PASSED.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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