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Alternate Pipeline Route Raises Concerns

The new alternate PennEast Pipeline route would require two additional Delaware River crossings. (Andy Arthur/Flickr)
The new alternate PennEast Pipeline route would require two additional Delaware River crossings. (Andy Arthur/Flickr)
January 11, 2017

UPPER BLACK EDDY, Pa. – Environmentalists are holding a public forum in Upper Black Eddy tonight on a proposed alternate route for the PennEast Pipeline.

The proposal would add two more Delaware River crossings and shift a greater portion of the pipeline route to the Pennsylvania side of the river.

Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club New Jersey chapter, says the new alternate is a direct response to strong public opposition and stricter environmental regulations in New Jersey. He says the forum is intended to help the community organize, and to inform them about potential environmental dangers.

"A lot of them are in construction, storm water runoff, chemicals used in drilling under streams, air pollution threats because of venting of natural gas that could have radon in it, or even chromium," he said.

PennEast says the 120-mile pipeline will reduce energy costs to families and businesses in both states and support thousands of jobs.

But Tittel says the pipeline would cut a 114-mile scar through one of the most scenic areas of the northeast, while encouraging the construction of more power plants and bringing more pollution along the route.

"And it's not needed," he added. "It's only so that the utilities can make more money by selling the gas to themselves, versus buying gas from another source. And there's plenty of pipelines and gas already in New Jersey."

He points out that every pipeline on the drawing board must have a preferred route and at least two alternatives, and PennEast has already had five major changes to its route.

"Our concern is that this new alternative route that they're showing, mostly going down the Pennsylvania side, might end up becoming the preferred route," he explained.

The proposed alternative route would affect Buckingham, Newtown, Solebury and other Pennsylvania communities.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA