December HALT Update – December 2nd, 2020

VIRTUAL MEMBER MEETING – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9 @ 7PM & REQUEST TO SUBMIT COMMENTS TO DRBC

We hope your Thanksgiving was relaxing and enjoyable and you are keeping safe and healthy.

Our December Member’s Meeting will be held Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm. This virtual meeting will focus on a few updates including DRBC, NJR public comments, SCOTUS, and a look ahead to 2021.

There are 2 ways to join the meeting.

  • Phone: Dial: +1 646 876 9923 ID: 89819213090#
  • Devices with camera and microphone (Laptop, smart phone, iPad, Chromebook, etc.) Depending on your device, you will need to download the zoom application (for free) prior to the meeting. Make sure that your camera and microphone are turned on in the zoom application. Once the zoom application is downloaded to join the meeting click on the link below. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89819213090

In order to allow the meeting to start on time, we suggest that if you haven’t used zoom before that you download the app Wednesday morning. If you encounter any problems, this will give enough time to work through them. If you need assistance call HALT @ 609-483-5530.

Secondly, we have been advised by our friends at NJCF that the DRBC is now reviewing the PennEast application. It is time to yet again send more comments to the DRBC. We have included the instructions and draft language below for your convenience.

DRBC Comment instructions:

SUBMIT COMMENTS

While the formal comment period is not yet open, we are requesting that you submit written comments to penneastapp@drbc.gov urging them to reject PennEast’s application. There is no deadline at present. The DRBC invites comments on matters not yet scheduled on their docket so let’s keep up the momentum and provide them!

WHAT TO SAY : Below are samples of comments made at the last DRBC meeting. Feel free to copy all or parts of and use as your own. You can incorporate the comments into one email but the more comments you send the better! Also, additional topics to comment on can be found on Mike Spille’s website: https://www.pipeinfo.org/drbc

Comment 1

PennEast has repeatedly disregarded the Commission’s authority. First, PennEast withdrew their previous application and asserted that the Commission did not have jurisdiction over Phase I of the new project they’ve submitted to FERC. When the Commission appropriately corrected PennEast on this, PennEast said they would “voluntarily” submit an application if the Commission agreed to review it on their arbitrary and overly aggressive timeline.

PennEast has blatantly attempted to skirt the Commission’s review by arguing that their project doesn’t constitute a project, and by playing a shell game in an effort to make it appear that they don’t meet the commission’s thresholds. To the Commission’s credit you have firmly and appropriately rejected these hollow claims.

I urge you to reject PennEast’s application without prejudice.

Comment 2

Whatever project PennEast asks FERC to certificate must also be reviewed by the Commission. PennEast has asked FERC to certificate building the entire pipeline in two phases. Yet, PennEast has only submitted an application to the commission for Phase I. They can’t have it both ways and submit different versions of the project to multiple agencies as it suits their needs.

The Commission must demand that PennEast submit an application for the entire route so that the full impacts of the project to the DRBC can be evaluated.

By submitting a Phase I only, PennEast is attempting to segment the Commissions Review and artificially minimize the impact of the project to the Basin’s water resources.

For Example, in their application to the Commission, PennEast States that Phase I will impact 17.3 acres of wetland within 30’ of the maintained row, pointing out that this falls below one of the Commission’s thresholds of 25 acres of wetlands impacted. However, if PennEast were to submit both Phases, the project would clearly exceed this threshold, as Phase II would impact an additional 19 acres of wetland in New Jersey.

Considering one half at a time of a two-phase project would conceal the true and cumulative impact of a project that will have significant and unacceptable impacts to the water resources that you are charged with protecting.

Although Phase I would still fall under the commission’s review, I urge you to require that PennEast submit all necessary information for Phase II of the project so the Commission reviews the same project that is currently before FERC, and fully evaluates the impacts to the Delaware River Basin.

Looking forward to seeing you (virtually) on Wednesday, December 9 @ 7pm

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