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FERC Releases PennEast Pipeline Draft Impact Statement

Public comments are now open on the PennEast Pipeline Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), released in July and prepared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in cooperation with several other agencies.

The over 1,000-page DEIS examines the possible effects of the 119-mile pipeline, proposed to carry one billion cubic feet per day of natural gas between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“Approval of this project would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of PennEast’s proposed mitigation and additional recommendations in the draft EIS,” the draft states.

The DEIS indicates that the environmental and visual impact of the pipeline would be “effectively minimized or mitigated” based on the project’s current plans. These impacts include disruption to five threatened or endangered animal and plant species located along the 119-mile stretch.

The DEIS concluded that the PennEast Pipeline would “contribute to a cumulative improvement in regional air quality if a portion of the natural gas associated with the project displaces the use of other more polluting fossil fuels.”

Opponents of the pipeline argue that mitigation throughout the project will not be enough to limit the pipeline’s potential damage to the environment.

In a news release addressing the DEIS, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network said, “For those who think that the issuance of this document and the FERC finding that mitigation is enough to address the immense and irreparable harms the PennEast Pipeline would inflict means the project is a done deal, that’s just not the case.”

Pennsylvania and New Jersey have yet to issue Clean Water Act certifications, and the project has not yet been approved by the Delaware River Basin Commission. However, the DEIS cited a November 2017 projected start date for the project, pending all necessary state and agency approvals.

Released on July 22, the draft’s public comments phase will close 45 days later on Sept. 5. That period includes six public comment meetings throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Comments about the DEIS are due to the FERC by September 5, 2016.  There are four ways to submit comments:

  1. For brief, text-only comments, use the eComment feature under the Documents and Filings link at the FERC website.
  2. For longer comments or comments that are in an electronic file, use the eFiling feature under the Documents and Filings link at the FERC website. (You must create an account to use the eFiling system.)
  3. Paper comments should be mailed to:Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    888 First Street NE, Room 1A
    Washington, DC 20426
  4. Public comment meetings will be held to record oral comments. The meetings are scheduled as follows:
  • Monday, August 15, 2016
    6-10 p.m.
    Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center
    300 Gateway Drive
    Bethlehem, PA 18017
  • Monday, August 15, 2016
    6-10 p.m.
    Penn’s Peak
    325 Maury Road
    Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
  • Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    6-10 p.m.
    Grand Colonial
    86 Route 173 West
    Hampton, NJ 08827
  • Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    6-10 p.m.
    Peddler’s Village
    (Lahaska and Neshaminy Rooms)
    Routes 202 & 263
    Lahaska, PA 19831
  • Wednesday, August 17, 2016
    6-10 p.m.
    Best Western Genetti Hotel & Conference Center
    77 E. Market Street
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
  • Wednesday, August 17, 2016
    6-10 p.m.
    Clifford B. Memorial Hall
    1666 Pennington Road
    Ewing, NJ 08618

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