PennEast Plots Its Redirection Amidst Confusion, Scoping Meetings Scheduled

    As PennEast continues to refine its proposed 108-mile long 36-inch diameter underground natural gas pipeline, with a possible co-location with existing utility easements, Hopewell Township and PennEast representatives met on December 22nd, said  Paul Pogorzelski, Township Administrator/Engineer, at the Hopewell Township Committee meeting Monday night.

    “PennEast representatives, about 10 people — many of the same people from the open house — presented a co-location alternative along the 230 KV [overhead power lines] along Reed Road, along baldpate and reaching nearly at  the Delaware River,” said Pogorzelski. He further explained that PennEast has not provided Hopewell Township officials with the updated map that might be released later this week.

    The Sourland Conservancy in a letter to the MercerMe editor, contained info about the January 2015 updated maps from PennEast as of Monday night  You can view the maps entitled “PennEast Pipeline Project Proposed Primary and Route Alternatives Hunterdon and Mercer County, New Jersey” prepared by PennEast here


    In late December, PennEast mailed letters to a new batch of property owners along what may be the alternate route. MercerMe author Ryan Kennedy wrote “PennEast Pipeline: Hopewell Notice Letters Hint at Revised Route” explaining that a new set of residents received “introduction” letters notifying them about a potential new portion of its proposed route through Hopewell Township that would apparently follow and co-locate along an existing electric power transmission right-of-way.

    Rumors have arisen that the Township sought co-location conversations with PennEast, said Township Committee person, Kevin Kuchinski at Monday’s meeting.

    According to Pogorzelski, the particular meeting minutes of Penneast / FERC meetings indicated that Hopewell Township requested the December co-location meeting with PennEast however that the information was inaccurate. Those same minutes also indicated that the mayor of West Amwell offered full support of the alternate route, however that information also proved to be untrue as the West Amwell mayor did not even participate in that meeting.

    Pogorzelski explained that a third-party transcribes minutes as part of the formal FERC record and that those statements were interpreted by that third-party transcriber. PennEast assured Pogorzelski that a corrective statement will be put on the record at the next meeting. Kuchinski said that it was his understanding that West Amwell has gone on the record to say that they are not support. Committee person Vanessa Sandom urged the Township to send a formal message to FERC, as West Amwell has, to ensure that the message of miscommunication is received.

    Scoping Meetings

    PennEast will be holding several “scoping meetings” over the next month. Scoping meetings are a more formal process in which FERC is fully engaged and requires formal environmental impact statements, explained Steve Goodell, Township attorney at a Committee meeting in October 2014. At that meeting, Hopewell Township passed a resolution urging FERC to do the formal scoping meeting in hopes that it will result in more stringent inspection of the environmental impact for the project.

    IMG_1274.JPGThe following is the list of planned scoping meetings:

    January 27, 2015, 6:00 PM
    College of New Jersey
    2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 08628

    January 28, 2015, 6:00 PM
    Bucks County Community College
    275 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940

    February 10, 2015, 6:00 PM
    Northampton Community College
    3835 Green Pond Rd, Bethlehem, PA 18020

    IMG_7027February 11, 2015, 6:00 PM
    Penn’s Peak
    325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229

    February 12, 2015, 6:00 PM
    Best Western Hotel & Conference Center
    77 E Market Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA

    Want to get involved sooner? The Environmental Club at the Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown is hosting a public forum on the PennEast Pipeline and the FERC process on January 15th. Here are the details.

    Want more information? Here’s what else we’ve covered:

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    1. Interesting that the Hopewell Twp representative quoted in the first paragraph says that PennEast met with them about the alternate route on December 22. The route which was developed for Hopewell Twp by Round Mountain is dated November 21, and it is exactly the route which PennEast has now released.

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