HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Hunterdon County Freeholder Board Director Shaun Van Doren recently submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) comments on Penn East’s proposed amendment to build the pipeline in two phases, citing environmental and economic concerns, calling for a re-examination the draft ‘Environmental Assessment’ (EA) that declares a finding of no significant impact.
“FERC needs to take the draft EA back to the drawing board. Using the draft Assessment to declare a finding of ‘no significant impact’ is inaccurate and a disservice to the public. There is no mention in the EA of the affect on residential property rights, preserved farmland, and protected environmental assets and resources,” Van Doren said.
In a recent letter to FERC, prior to the Sept. 2 deadline for comments, Van Doren said, “the proposed amendment falls well short of establishing the major environmental and economic impacts of the project and the draft EA only considers a portion of the changes, not the project in its entirety.”
Van Doren urged the Commission to reconsider the Environmental Assessment and to include more than the Church Street interconnection in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania in the assessment.
“PennEast is using the so-called small bites strategy where, as each incremental segment is approved, the company will then rely upon that previous approval for its argument to proceed further because of economic investment,” Van Doren said.
The Hunterdon County Freeholder Board has opposed the pipeline plan since its inception, with particular concern for the abuse of the eminent domain process and the potential negative affect on preserved farmland and residential property values.