STOCKTON, N.J., Aug. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Stating that "our businesses, our livelihoods, and our families cannot afford the financial risks that PennEast would bring to our region," a united group of 70 business owners today shared their grave economic concerns about the proposed pipeline in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), urging FERC to reject PennEast's application.
The letter, dated August 10 and addressed to FERC Secretary Kimberly Bose, is the latest in an outpouring of opposition to PennEast. A bipartisan group of federal and state legislators, homeowners, conservation groups and local leaders have expressed ongoing concerns that the PennEast application is incomplete, misleading and lacks sufficient basis for moving forward.
"As a medical professional, my patients' health is my first priority. This pipeline threatens their access to care as well as the broader health of our community and environment. The disruption caused by PennEast would jeopardize our health, safety and livelihoods, for a pipeline we don't even need. I urge all concerned citizens to join us in standing up against this unnecessary fossil fuel project," said Dr. Jennifer E. Fisher, DC, a chiropractor in Pennington and one of the 70 business owners who signed the collective letter to FERC.
The letter was delivered in the midst of an official comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for PennEast, which ends on September 12. FERC is holding public meetings as part of the comment period on August 15, 16 and 17.
In their letter to FERC, the 70 business owners wrote that PennEast "does not consider the economic harms and costs to local businesses that would result from construction of the pipeline, such as disruptions to local businesses, loss of productive farmland, reductions in property values, impacts to local tourism and degraded water quality that we all depend upon to draw countless people to our area."
Concerned community members are encouraged to join these business owners by attending one of two public opposition events taking place on Tuesday, August 16 in Clinton, NJ and Wednesday, August 17 in Trenton, NJ, both starting at 5 p.m. These events will coincide with two of FERC's six scheduled public meetings about PennEast. They will provide the public with an opportunity to express their concerns about PennEast's DEIS, which FERC released for public comment on July 22. The events will allow the public to make their voices heard about PennEast's incomplete application and FERC's inadequate DEIS process. Details about the opposition events and FERC public meetings are available at http://rethinkenergynj.org/stopPenneast/.
"FERC is clearly trying to discourage the thousands of citizens who oppose PennEast by holding its public meetings during the height of vacation season and Labor Day, and changing its meetings locations at the last minute," said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for Rethink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation. "We urge all who are opposed to this unneeded pipeline to join us at these opposition events and public meetings. Together we must hold FERC accountable and protect our land, water and communities."
"With the health and safety of our communities at risk, there is nothing short of sustained and intensifying outrage against PennEast. Unfortunately for FERC and PennEast, the public will not be manipulated into silence, confusion or discouragement, especially in light of the many serious threats that this dangerous, unneeded pipeline poses to our region," said Jim Waltman, executive director of Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association.
"PennEast would permanently scar our land and completely undermine our family farm operation. 'No Farms, No Food' is not just a bumper sticker – farms are a life-critical element of our communities, which PennEast is just throwing to the wind. They're trying to bully their pipeline through our farmland and sensitive open spaces and waterways, saying it's our problem, not theirs. That doesn't sound like justification for a 'public need' project to me," said Joe Buchanan, owner of Achy Acres Farm in Delaware Township, NJ and another business owner who signed the letter.
In addition to attending the FERC public meetings and opposition events, individuals are urged to submit multiple comments to FERC on the PennEast docket (#CP15-558). This is the critical official comment period against the PennEast DEIS, which ends September 12. This is the most important time to register formal, specific complaints to FERC against PennEast.
SOURCE New Jersey Conservation Foundation