Community members joined together at the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) meeting Dec. 11, demanding that the DRBC deny the PennEast Pipeline by delivering a joint, detailed comment outlining the many reasons why the docket must be denied.
Members of the public read the joint comment, with each testifier reading for two minutes and the next picking up where the prior left off. The comment outlined: misinformation and deficiencies in the information that PennEast has provided to regulators and the public; the DRBC’s own requirements; and the recent Third Circuit Court decision which ruled the pipeline company cannot condemn state-owned land.
Many present wore green “No PennEast” headbands, sending a silent but powerful message to the DRBC commissioners.
“There are many steps the DRBC has taken with regards to the PennEast pipeline that are important, precedent-setting and demonstrate important leadership. But we are concerned that DRBC has continued to leave the PennEast application open for over three and a half years despite evidence on the record and recent events that make clear it is time for DRBC to reject the project and close the file,” the plea read.
The testimony asked DRBC to immediately reject the pipeline and close the file on “this wrong-headed project and proposal.”
A letter signed by 99 organizations and a petition signed by over 3,000 individuals were delivered on the same day to the DRBC commissioners.
“It is no longer legally appropriate, nor morally defensible, for you to continue to keep the application file open and leave communities and natural resources across the basin threatened with harm from the ever-present PennEast axe hanging over our heads,” the petition said.
“At this time when the state of New Jersey has demonstrated its opposition to the project by rejecting it three times and denying the right of PennEast to take state property rights in order to force construction, when the federal government is trying to reduce the rights of states to protect themselves from pipelines with regulatory rollbacks, and when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is amping up its rubber stamp process for fracked gas pipelines, it is more important than ever that DRBC exercise its full authority and stand with the state of New Jersey, and with the residents and towns of our watershed, to reject the PennEast pipeline.”
“Bucks County is one of many communities that will bear the brunt of the environmental damage caused by the pipeline. It is time to protect our residents, water, wildlife and forests - and the economies that rely on a healthy ecosystem to function. Pursuing this pipeline at a time when we need to turn away from fossil fuels, and towards renewable energy solutions, in order to address the serious impacts of climate change is unacceptable,” said Stacy Carr-Poole, executive director, Bucks County Audubon Society.