Local Penneast pipeline opposers — over 100 people deep — joined hands at Baldwin Lake Wilderness Management Area in Hopewell Valley on Saturday morning to show their solidarity and “Stand Up to Penneast.”
The human chain spanned 125 feet which marks the width of the intended 108-mile long natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Mercer County, New Jersey. Protesters held signs that spelled out “125 FEET OF DEVASTATION! STOP PENNEAST!”
Both Mayor Vanessa Sandom and Committeeman John Hart attended the event in bi-partisan opposition to the pipeline and spoke out against PennEast.
“It is critically important that we stand together . This pipeline has absolutely no benefit for Hopewell,” said Sandom. “So many people have come out today. It is hopeful, very hopeful, that we will prevail to stop this pipeline.”
Addressing concerns about farmland affected by the pipeline, Committeeman and farmer John Hart explained, “Once you put in a pipeline, once you stir up that bacteria, the crops never come back.”
Environmental groups also joined the protest, including the Sourland Conservancy and the Stonybrook-Millstone Watershed Association. MercerMe has covered some of the reactions and recommendations these groups have issued.
“In that nine mile stretch alone, about 40 acres of forest will be ripped out, about five or six acres of wetlands, and 13 streams will be crossed,” explained Caroline Katmann, Executive Director of the Sourland Conservancy, “We’re very concerned about that. It’s a very fragile ecosystem with great biodiversity and many threatened and endangered species.”
Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline is a citizen created and lead group formed to mobilize opposition against pipeline development in the Hopewell Valley area. HTCAPP’s website, www.HTCAPP.org, has information about the proposed pipeline, upcoming events and initiatives, and detailed instructions for filing opposition comments with FERC.