This January of 2015, PennEast parent’s company, UGI, announced an alternative route for the pipeline through portions of Hunterdon County, including my home town of Delaware Township. On January 15, 2015, PennEast submitted an updated landowner list to FERC and UGI and notified stakeholders as follows:
“PennEast partners, engineers and outreach staff have had numerous conversations with various stakeholders and received significant feedback on the route that was proposed in August 2014. Those conversations, coupled with further computer analysis and meetings with regulators, elected officials and resource agencies, led us to reconsider the original route and propose a refined alternative route.”
PennEast continues to move forward with its approval process. Just two days earlier, on January 13, 2015, PennEast submitted to FERC a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned PennEast Pipeline Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meetings (NOI). The map provided in this notice does not appear to reflect the alternative route. Here is a link to the NOI for EIS for PennEast Pipeline Janaury 13 2015 Here is a link to the alternative route: http://penneastpipeline.com/proposed-route/.
Hunterdon County recently experienced Transco’s widening of an existing utility right of way. While co-location within an existing easement does reduce impacts when compared to cutting a new easement through preserved lands, the co-location typically requires widening the existing easement, obtaining construction and work-area easements, and enables continuation of the controversial fracking industry. I have contacted UGI seeking additional information regarding the eminent domain property rights sought by UGI within the alternative route.
Scoping meetings are being held on January 27, 2014 in Ewing, New Jersey, January 28, 2015 in Newtown, Pennsylvania, February 10, 2015, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, February 11, 2015, in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and February 12, 2015 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. For more information, see the NOI. Scoping comments may also be submitted online at FERC.
Concerned citizens may obtain official information on PennEast’s pipeline applications at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ferconline.asp. Individuals may register with FERC, creating a login and password. Individuals may then eSubscribe to receive all information related to a docket, without officially intervening. PennEast’s prefiling process has been assigned docket PF 15-1. Even without registering, FERC’s eLibrary is a searchable database of all FERC submissions. eComments of up to 6,000 characters may be submitted in the pre-filing stage. eFiling is used to intervene in a proceeding and file comments in excess of 6,000 characters and/or containing non-text materials. After the prefiling stage and once an application is filed, a person, organization or agency may become an official “party” to a proceeding, by eFiling a Motion/Notice of intervention, and must then serve all of its submissions on all parties/intervenors. A party must, in part, intervene to have standing to request re-hearings or to appeal final FERC action on the application.