HALT represents landowners throughout the PennEast route including Pennsylvania landowners. The following is a monthly report on the pipeline project from Save Carbon County. This group is a concerned citizens’ committee that is a Pennsylvania partner of HALT.
FEB. REPORT TO CARBON COUNTY STAKEHOLDERS
By SAVE CARBON COUNTY
PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 3/3/2019
According to a reports filed with the PA Dept. of State, pipeline companies have spent more than $37.7 million on lobbying our representatives in Harrisburg. The largest amount by far was the $11.6 million spent by companies with an interest in the Mariner East pipeline project.
These expenditures cover the time period of August 2012 through July of 2018.
As of Feb. 19th, Pennsylvania is halting construction permits for natural gas pipelines operated by Texas-based Energy Transfer, LP. Gov. Wolf announced that the company failed to respect the state’s laws and communities. The company’s pipeline projects include two gas pipelines, the Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2, and a natural gas liquids pipeline called Mariner East 2X. Construction of these three pipelines has drawn blame for causing sinkholes and polluting drinking water. The company has been fined more than $13 million.
At least for a while, the PennEast company will not be able to conduct early tree-cutting prior to receiving all of the needed permits for the project. Save Carbon County and others were concerned that if PennEast were given permission for early tree-cutting, trees would be cut along the pipeline route—even if PennEast ultimately failed to obtain permission to build the pipeline. This has happened before in PA. The Constitution Pipeline clear-cut 28 miles of pipeline route in PA before the project was stopped by the State of New York. Even though the pipeline was stopped, the damage to PA was already done. The next opportunity for tree cutting under the Migratory Birds Treaty begins on Nov. 1, 2019 and extends through March 2020.
The Pipeline Protest Bills continue to move through the PA Legislature. These Bills, introduced by Sen. Scott Martin and Sen. Mike Regan, would turn peaceful protest at “critical infrastructure” sites (pipelines and fracking sites) into a 2nd degree felony on a par with sexual assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A repeat offense would constitute a first degree felony on par with kidnapping, rape, and murder. The intent of these Bills is to intimidate and deter potential protesters at pipeline and gas fracking sites. Vandalism is already a crime in PA. These Bills would criminalize peaceful non-violent protests.
The State of New Jersey has taken a position opposed to fracking and fracking wastewater in the Delaware River Basin. The State proposes to expand the current prohibitions against fracking well sites within the Basin to a ban on the import, treatment, and discharge of fracking wastewater as well. The rules on fracking and fracking wastewater are under discussion at the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). New Jersey is one of four states that, with the Federal Government, make up the DRBC.
Save Carbon County is a member of a regional and two-state effort to stop the PennEast/UGI pipeline. Local information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop the Fracking Pipeline.” Regional Information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop PennEast Pipeline.”