In a letter to Federal Energy Regulation Commission – 2.6.13 the Chester County delegation requested that FERC consider the potential harm to the Hopewell Big Woods as a cost that is too steep to pay.
In Ohio, near the Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve, Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners cut down trees to make way for the installation of an underground pipeline. The company took down 100 trees owned by a private resident, 300 feet from the state-owned preserve. According to a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “it appears that a small tract of land owned by the state was impacted without permission”. The county planning commission sent Enterprise a letter indicating that they had violated floodplain regulations. See the Columbus Dispatch article from 02/22/2013.
Columbia Gas Transmission Group submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) plans to expand its pipelines in Gloucester County, NJ and Chester County, PA. According to the The Inquirer
The Chester County segment would run southward from Columbia’s Eagle Compressor Station on Fellowship Road in West Vincent Township. It would connect to the Downingtown Compressor Station on Poorhouse Road near the West Bradford Township municipal building. About 180 property owners would be affected.
The pipeline route will cross Brandywine Creek below Marsh Creek Reservoir, but Columbia plans to go under the creek using a horizontal drilling method to avoid having to trench through the waterway.
A government report says a cyberattack against 23 natural gas pipeline operators stole crucial information that could compromise security. Read more at the Christian Science Monitor.
The Reading Eagle recently wrote about the Commonwealth Pipeline’s path through Berks and Chester County. The article, Right through the heart, indicated that county commissioners want to give access to natural gas service to business owners in northern Berks county along I-78. However to the south along the Berks-Chester county line there is a different point of view that sees the pipeline as a threat to the integrity of an important conservation area.
The Penn State Extension web site contains a post Natural Gas Pipeline Right-of-Ways: Understanding Landowner Rights and Options. The article offers information about pipeline construction and maintenance requirements, the leasing process, and issues landowners might consider when negotiating their right-of-way agreements.
On February 20 at Warwick Township, Supervisors from Warwick, East Nantmeal, West Vincent, Union, North Coventry, and South Coventry Townships; County Commissioners Ryan Costello and Terence Farrell; State Rep. Tim Hennessey; representatives from the offices of Senator Rafferty and Congressmen Gerlach and Meehan, as well as representatives from Natural Lands Trust, French & Pickering Conservation Trust, and Green Valleys Assoc. met in a public meeting to discuss the Commonwealth Pipeline project and how to deal with it.
Four of the six townships, including East Nantmeal, have already passed resolutions objecting to the pipeline as currently proposed in their communities, with the remaining two townships still studying the issues, but expected to follow suit.
There was general agreement among the group that the best initial strategy is to use a coalition approach, with officials on all levels (local, county, and state) contributing as much as they can individually in a multi-pronged fashion. It was also requested that the environmental experts of the land trusts determine the specific impacts that this proposed pipeline would present, particularly as it would run through the Hopewell Big Woods, so that data can be used to strengthen arguments when interacting with the pipeline company and FERC.
Continued education to increase public awareness was acknowledged as an imperative.
While agreeing that stopping pipelines generally is unlikely, the group was optimistic that working together it might be possible to get the company to change the pipeline route away from the ecologically sensitive Hopewell Big Woods area, and into existing ROWs.
Another meeting of the group will be scheduled once the environmental experts assess the impact that the current route would have on our communities.