In a letter today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) instructed PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC to provide further information for their application to construct 110 miles from Dallas Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, under the Delaware River, into to Hopewell Township and connecting to an existing pipeline in Pennington, New Jersey. The information is necessary for FERC to prepare its environmental impact statement (EIS), which part of the approval process for the pipeline.
FERC has required that PennEast provide further detailed information regarding several potentially affected nature preserves, including Ted F. Stiles Preserve (at Baldpate Mountain). PennEast must identify the acreage of impact during construction and operation and also identify mitigation and minimization measures to reduce potential impacts to visitors. (For the full letter, click this link.)
With regard to wetlands, PennEast is being required to provide copies of site-specific wetland restoration or mitigation plans, and riparian area restoration plans, that PennEast states will be developed where needed in accordance with state permitting requirements.
“FERC’s letter demonstrates once again that the information that PennEast has submitted to date is incomplete and inaccurate,” said Michael Pisarro, policy director at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. “FERC and the public have requested complete and accurate information from PennEast on numerous occasions to no avail. The Watershed and others have called upon FERC to suspend its review on this project until PennEast supplies complete and accurate information.”
The response must be provided by February 20, 2016.
For those interested in the Leidy Line Southeast Expansion, tomorrow, February 11, 2016 at 7PM, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will hold a public hearing at Montgomery Upper Middle School on Transco’s permit application for the Skillman Loop natural gas pipeline.
The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association requested this public hearing in response to Transco’s request for modifications to its permits because of the exceptional value of the area targeted by Transco in their application. In the Watershed’s request for public participation they explained, “The stream is critical habitat for a fish, the bridle shiner, a protected species in New Jersey. It is also habitat for the wood turtle. Transco is seeking to modify permits issued by the NJDEP that required Transco to ‘tunnel’ under two streams and two wetlands.”
The NJDEP permits currently require Transco to tunnel under two streams and two wetlands in order to install the pipe. Transco is asking permission to abandon this less impactfull tunneling plans and instead cut a highly destructive trench through these exceptional resources. The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and Friends of Princeton Open Space are challenging those permits in court and do not believe that Transco should be allowed to further damage the environment.