August HALT Update – August 12th, 2020

August HALT Update

There are three key actions included in this newsletter. 1) Members’ Meeting, 2) FERC Comments due September 2nd for Phase 1, 3) DRBC upcoming public meeting on September 10th with public comments available for PennEast application.

MEMBER’S MEETING

It has been a long hot summer this year, take a break, and join us for a virtual member’s meeting on Wednesday, August 26th at 7pm. We will be jointly hosting our meeting with our friends at NJCF. A reminder email and agenda will follow separately.

To join the meeting:

SCOTUS

The Supreme Court has requested an opinion from the US Solicitor General’s Office regarding the eminent domain case brought by PennEast. The Court is now in summer recess and we expect to hear further in the fall with two possible outcomes: 1) The Supreme Court accepts the case in which case they will not likely hear arguments until 2021; or 2) The Supreme Court refuses to accept the case and the lower court’s ruling will stand and PennEast will not be able to cross 41 New Jersey owned or controlled properties.

FERC/Phase 1 – Pennsylvania Update:

Linda Christman of Save Carbon County has provided the following update from Pennsylvania:

“Dear Regional Leaders: On July 24th, PennEast sent a whiny letter to FERC demanding that the commission hurry up with the Environmental Assessment for the new Phase I pipeline. Instead of being annoyed, FERC responded like the industry puppet that it is and issued the assessment yesterday. They, of course, found “no significant” environmental impact to the proposed PA-only pipeline.

We have until Sept. 2nd to comment.

SUGGESTED COMMENT LANGUAGE: FERC’s action violates NEPA and the Natural Gas Act because the Environmental Assessment too narrowly focuses on the Church Street Interconnect and fails to consider the full impacts of, and alternatives to, building both phases of the project, which FERC defines as the purpose and need. Furthermore, FERC doesn’t have the jurisdiction to amend the original certificate, as that jurisdiction rests with the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

HOW TO COMMENT:  For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has staff available to assist you at (866) 208-3676 or FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov.

Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission’s website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to FERC Online. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

2) You can also file your comments electronically using the eFiling feature on the Commission’s website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to FERC Online. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” You must select the type of filing you are making. If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing”; or

3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address using the U.S. Postal Service. Be sure to reference the project docket number (CP20-47-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426 NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426. Submissions sent through carriers other than the U.S. Postal Service must be sent to 12225 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20852 for processing.

FERC_Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment for the
Proposed PennEast 2020 Amendment Project re PennEast Pipeline
Company, LLC under CP20-47.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20200803-3048

FERC_Environmental Assessment Report for PennEast Pipeline Company
LLC’s PennEast 2020 Amendment Project under CP20-47.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20200803-3033

Something to Cheer You Up (courtesy of Vince DiBianca). Do you realize that in order to complete their original pipeline plans, PennEast must accomplish at least five pretty difficult tasks: (1) They must get the Supreme Court to take up the case they lost to the State of New Jersey. (2) They must win their argument before the Supreme Court (3) They must gain approval from the New Jersey DEP (4) They must obtain a permit/docket from the DRBC (5) They must prevail in the pending case that awaits them in the 3rd Circuit. The opposition (that’s us) only has to keep them from accomplishing one of those tasks.

If we want to keep them from building the PA-only pipeline, we have four options: (1) get DRBC to disapprove the pipeline (2) have the 3rd Circuit approve the pending HALT suit against FERC (3) bring a another successful suit against a FERC approval of the Phase I pipeline (4) stall the project long enough that the lousy energy market catches up with them. We have a lot of options to stop this entire pipeline. And one of the reasons we have options is your continued opposition. We have put ourselves in a winnable position through your hard work and never giving up.

DRBC Update:

DRBC’s next public meeting is Thursday, September 10th. We need EVERYONE who wants to see this project stopped to show up (virtually) and speak out before and during the meetings. HALT members who choose to speak should use the opportunity to (1) urge the Commission to direct their staff to meet with Mike Spille and concerned citizens who oppose the pipeline. Mike Spille submitted a very comprehensive critique of the PennEast application signed by 13 grass-roots organizations. The Commission staff has met with PennEast representatives and the same opportunity should be given to opponents. (2) urge the Commission to insist on a complete and accurate resubmittal of the PennEast application.

You MUST pre-register to speak at this meeting using the following link. HALT members who secure a ticket to speak at the Sept. 10th meeting should let Gary/Daria know by emailing: info@haltpenneast.org

To Secure a Position to Comment during Open Public Comment:

Instructions to Participate in the meeting on September 10:

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