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It’s open house time for Penneast pipeline and tonight is the ONLY open house being held by them in New Jersey. It is at 5:30PM in Lamberville so, depending on how far you need to travel, start cleaning up that desk of yours to get ready to go!

Thursday, Nov. 13 in West Amwell / 5:30-7:30 PM at South Hunterdon Regional High School gymnasium, 301 Mt. Airy-Harbourton Road, West Amwell (Lambertville)

The open house is an event that incorporates information stations where individuals can find out more about the proposed project. Hopewell Township Citizens Against the Penneast Pipeline (HTCAPP) explained on their website that stations at the meeting will provide information on topics of interest to landowners, community members and other stakeholders.

To delve deeper into what an open house is and the time-line for the process, you can refer to MercerMe’s prior articles on the subject, in particular: FERC This: Pipeline Process in 90 Seconds. It is not an open forum like meetings in September.

Categories include safety and operations, land, environment and engineering, pipeline construction and restoration (see the specific areas below). Individuals will be able to stop at each station and talk with representatives from PennEast. Representatives from FERC will also be present to hear your concerns and questions.

The following are areas of focus of the Open House:

1. General project description
2. Water use and quality
3. Vegetation and wildlife
4. Cultural resources
5. Socio-economics
6. Geologic resources and hazards
7. Soils
8. Land use, recreation, and aesthetics
9. Air quality and noise
10. Alternatives
11. Reliability and safety

Environmental and citizens groups stress the importance of understanding the process and the one-sidedness of the information that will be presented tonight.  Organizations are concerned that the pipeline project will damage water quality, clear cut forests and impact residential communities.  The pipeline will cross a number of important tributaries and the Delaware River, a source of drinking water for millions and enjoyed by thousands for fishing, kayaking, and other recreational uses.

“It’s an open house but a closed process. The public cannot really get questions answered. They will avoid giving you the facts. They will not talk to you about the real environmental impacts — the impacts to open space, air, and water quality and how it promotes fracking,” said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

As you can see from the flow-chart in the “FERC This” article, the open house project is still in the “pre-filing” stage and it is important for individuals attending to understand where in the process this is.

“Laying pipelines creates permanent changes to a property owner’s home and our natural landscapes by Rights of Ways in perpetuity. Siting and safety regulatory processes are neither community nor local authority user friendly and the “Open House” is a prime example. It addresses only the proposed pipeline, is designed to present a “done deal” atmosphere and encourages signing easement agreements to prevent eminent domain. That’s mis-information for landowners. If a landowner signed an easement agreement early on and the path changes off that land or is cancelled, the landowner still has this permanent ROW encumbrance on the deed. Communities need to know about their rights at this stage of the process; not an “Open House” that tells the community what the Pipeline Operator intends to do,” said Lynda Farrell, Executive Director, Pipeline Safety Coalition.

Tonight is also an opportunity to meet the FERC officials who will be managing the project and environmental and citizens groups stress the importance of voicing opposition to those controlling the process.

MercerMe will be there tonight. We’ll see you there.

 

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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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