Officials in Dallas Township have passed a resolution against the construction of the PennEast pipeline, joining several other affected municipalities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in formally opposing the project.
PennEast pipeline is a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline designed to transport approximately 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day from Marcellus Shale to the northeast markets – or enough natural gas to heat more than 4.7 million homes.
In their resolution, the Dallas Township’s officials questioned the need for a yet another pipeline, since the town already has three pipelines – Transco interstate pipeline and two gathering lines to bring gas from Marcellus Shale wells to it – on top of the planned Atlantic Sunrise Transco expansion, and two more proposed pipelines: Marc II and Diamond East.
PennEast pipeline was also opposed on the environmental grounds. As the portal State Impact pointed out, according to documents PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC has filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the “preferred route” as of November 2014 would cross more than 300 acres of core habitat for plants and animals, as well as 143 acres of wetlands in Pennsylvania. It would also cut through nearly 400 acres of preserved farmland in southern New Jersey.
According to Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition member Scott Cannon – speaking to Pittsburgh Post Gazette – the other municipalities to enact similar ordinances are Moore Township and Riegelsville Borough in Pennsylvania and Alexandria, Bethlehem, Clinton, Delaware, East Amwell, Holland, Hopewell, Kingwood, Princeton and West Amwell townships, Frenchtown, Milford and Pennington boroughs and the City of Lambertville in New Jersey. Dallas Township officials sent certified copies of their resolution to state officials, as well as all the other municipalities affected by the pipeline.
However, local government experts say these resolutions have no legal power to stop the development of projects that are federally regulated.
“It is in fact an expression of disapproval on the part of the local governments, but it has no legal force and effect in terms of the siting of these pipelines,” said David Greene, attorney for the Pennsylvania Local Government Commission.
The oil and gas industry argues that there is an urgent need to build pipelines to bring cheap gas from the prolific Marcellus Shale formation to the energy-hungry East Coast, evening out the gas prices and removing bottlenecks. But the proposed pipelines often come under criticism from the local communities concerned about the impact new pipelines will have on the environment and the inhabitants.
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