Following Mercer County’s permission and rescission to PennEast Pipeline Company to survey land on The Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain, Hopewell Township passed a resolution at last night’s committee meeting prohibiting survey access to PennEast Pipeline Company on any and all Township-owned land.
See Access for PennEast Test-Boring on Ted Stiles Preserve on Baldpate Mountain, While County Grants Access to Ted Stiles Preserve, Other Owners Disagree, and Mercer Blocks Access to County Land Eyed for Proposed Pipeline Project.
The resolution specifies that the Township not only endorses Mercer County’s revocation of permission to PennEast but also objects to granting any survey access to any Township property, including The Ted Stiles preserve, a “treasure trove of environmental resources and… habitat to unique and endangered wildlife species.” The denial is on the basis that “any disturbance of the aforementioned lands and species by survey work is deemed as potentially environmentally harmful and could result in irreparable harm to the environment,” according to the language in the resolution.
While Committee person John Hart questioned whether it would be best to allow access to right-of-ways, such as the one on Baldpate, Mayor Harvey Lester retorted, “I believe the goal is to stop the penneast pipeline… Last week, when it became known that the county had given permission, I went to the freeholder meeting… to express my personal satifiscation as a resident of the township about the rescinding of the approval and indicating that I endorsed such an action.”
Environmental groups attended the meeting last night to congratulate Hopewell Township for taking this action.
“Pipelines get defeated by making it too hard to file for an application,” said Mike Pisauro, Policy Director for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed. “Only 33% of landowners have permitted survey access [to their lands] which is remarkable. The activities by the communities affected are bringing that fight and it has an effect. Baldpate is an extremely valuable resource and, when PennEast says co-location, they mean along side the right-of-way by expanding it, creating additional degradation of the interior forrest and jeopardizing migratory bird population.”
Patty Cronheim, Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline Coordinator, expressed that “less than 35% of survey permission, at this state of the game, is unprecedented” and “the best way to not have a pipeline is to have them never file so it is very important for the township to deny survey permission.”
Tonight, Hopewell Township’s Board of Health will be holding a special hearing about the potential health and safety affects of the proposed PennEast pipeline.
Hopewell Township Board of Health Meeting
Tuesday – July 28th, 2015 – 7:00 PM
Performing Arts Center of the Hopewell Valley Central High School
259 Pennington Titusville Rd, Pennington, NJ