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On October 7th, Penneast submitted their “Request for Approval of Pre-Filing Review” to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) to further the progress of a proposed 36-inch diameter, 108-mile pipeline, extending from Marcellus Shale region of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, to Mercer County, New Jersey.

Penneast is requesting that FERC approve the pre-filing by October 13, so that Penneast may meet its goal to have pipeline service in place for November 2017. This “Pre-Filing” method is an expedited timeline as compared to the traditional method of filing. CLICK HERE for very helpful chart.

MercerMe’s Ryan Kennedy wrote an article, FERC This: Pipeline Process in 90 Seconds, that gives an overview of the process. It includes a helpful flow-chart so take a look at that to orient yourself.

PennEast held its “open season,” which is the period required to assess need for the pipeline, between August 11 and August 29. As a result of the open season, PennEast believes it has satisfied the required showing of need.

Upon filing the “Request for Approval of Pre-Filing Review,” FERC conducts its review of the project within the FERC’s NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Pre-Filing Process, then formally approves the Pre-Filing Process and issues a docket number to the applicant (Penneast) to begin the project review.

Many local environmental groups are offering guidance in how to oppose the project:

The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club is hosting a user-customizable letter to FERC explaining the reasons why an individual opposes this proposed pipeline. Here are some of the suggestions on four key impact areas: 1) Water Quality and Water Supply: the pipeline crosses through the Delaware River watershed which provide drinking water for millions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; 2) Channel Stability: increased erosion from clearings; 3) Threatened and Endangered Species; and 4) Drainage and Compaction of Soils. CLICK HERE for that letter.

The Delaware Riverkeeper also has a petition on its website to urge the Delaware River Basin Commission to exert jurisdiction over the PennEast Pipeline Project. “The PennEast Pipeline Project will cut a 100-foot wide right-of-way for over 100 miles through at least 1200 acres across the Delaware River watershed, including waterways, wetlands, forests, public and private lands and the Delaware River itself. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is the only agency with the legal authority to look at the cumulative impacts of the entire project as it cuts through the watershed, including passing from one state into another, and including how the harms of this project will be magnified by the impacts of other recent and proposed pipeline projects,” according to the Delaware Riverkeeper’s website. CLICK HERE for the petition.

The Sourland Conservancy offers a variety of methods to oppose the pipeline:

  • landowners, when approached by PennEast for permission to survey and for an easement agreement to understand that landowners have a right to deny surveyors access to their land. They can send the pipeline company a deny or rescind form via certified mail;
  • Landowners can post no trespassing signs;
  • Yard signs used throughout a community can be a powerful organizing tool for those opposed to the pipeline project (Please email director@sourland.org or call 908-428-4216 to make sure they are still available before you come to the office;
  • Landowners should ask for all communications with the pipeline company to be documented in writing;
  • Landowners who are opposed to the pipeline project should not sign or make any agreements with the pipeline company;
  • Communities who negotiate with the pipeline company as an organized unit are more effective than trying to negotiate with the pipeline company as an individual;
  • Citizens concerned about the pipeline project should petition the Delaware River Basin Commission to exercise jurisdiction over the PennEast Pipeline Project. Find the petition at www.delawareriverkeeper.org;
  • Find out if there are threatened or endangered species, such as the bog turtle, in your community along the pipeline route. This information is important and often missed by FERC;
  • At the township level, townships who are opposed to the pipeline project can pass resolutions opposing the project. Encourage your township committee to pass a resolution describing what is important to your town and why the town opposes the project.

Upcoming PennEast Pipeline Meetings include:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 22 – West Amwell Township, 150 Rocktown Lambertville Road, Lambertville – 7PM
  • Wednesday, Oct. 29 – Kingwood Township Committee, Firehouse, Rt 519, Frenchtown – 7PM

Whether they happen remains to be seen, as Penneast cancelled its appearance before the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholder this week. But you can also follow Penneast on Twitter.

MercerMe continues to follow this development closely. CLICK HERE for past MercerMe articles about the Penneast Pipeline.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, 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 mild germaphobia, excessive self-reflection, enthusiastic television viewing, and misguided adventures in random hobbies.

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