Bristol, PA: The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) and Key-Log Economics today released a new report, documenting the overwhelmingly negative public comments submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the PennEast Pipeline.
The study, which used crowd sourced reviewers to analyze 3,443 written messages to FERC, found that 76.7% of all commenters expressed a negative attitude toward the proposed PennEast Pipeline—and of those living along the proposed pipeline route, 92.6% expressed a negative sentiment toward the pipeline. The report can be found here: http://bit.ly/PennEastCommunityCommentReport
The public comments on FERC’s docket that were reviewed for the study provide a wealth of objective data on the issues of concern to the people and communities through which the pipeline would pass. The analysis covered the sentiment of comments on a range of impacts and found that support for the proposed pipeline is sparse, especially in the counties and states directly affected. Of those who mentioned the economy, 57.1% of commenters think the PennEast Pipeline will harm the economy; 77.6% of those mentioning the environment said the effect will be negative; and 89% of those mentioning lifestyle expect a negative effect. The now well-supported and documented fact that the public generally expects negative impacts on these issues stands in contrast to the narrative of the PennEast Pipeline that asserts support.
“Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FERC must analyze and report on relevant issues raised in public comments for proposed projects during its review process. As of now, FERC and PennEast have largely ignored the thousands of negative comments entered onto the project’s docket from scoping through the DEIS comment period. Citizens can use the results of today’s report to hold FERC accountable to adequately addressing citizens’ concerns in their final EIS review, expected to be released this spring. The detailed report should also be considered to by other agencies who are currently reviewing the pipeline project,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“These findings demonstrate the wealth of concerns that citizens have expressed to FERC through the NEPA process and show the depth and breadth of informed beliefs that the proposed PennEast Pipeline will have negative or adverse effects on the environment, the economy, and people’s quality of life. This citizen input is what FERC is required to consider and address as it finalizes its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The opportunity for citizen input is a core principal of the NEPA process. Citizens possess a wealth of knowledge that can be extremely helpful and enlightening for federal agencies. Moreover, these comments voice real concerns over aspects of the PennEast proposal that FERC itself has flagged as important. Thus FERC will best serve the public by carefully considering the content of the citizen input summarized here and, moreover, by addressing citizens’ concerns fully in its analysis of the potential adverse effects of the PennEast Pipeline,” reads the report.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is a nonprofit membership organization working throughout the 4 states of the Delaware River Watershed including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. DRN provides effective environmental advocacy, volunteer monitoring programs, stream restoration projects, public education, and legal enforcement of environmental protection laws.