Allegheny Defense Project
Susquehanna West Pipeline: ACTION ALERT!
Comments Needed by May 23, 2016!
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting public comments on Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's (Tennessee) request for water quality certification for its proposed Susquehanna West Project. The Susquehanna West Project is one of three Tennessee pipeline projects proposed in northern Pennsylvania along the company's existing mainline system, the "300 Line." Once constructed, these three projects will add nearly 30 miles of pipeline, further increase capacity in this region for fracked shale gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.
The Susquehanna West Project is particularly concerning due to its location in Tioga State Forest just north of Pine Creek Gorge (aka, the "Pennsylvania Grand Canyon"). Construction of the pipeline would directly impact numerous waterbodies and wetlands, including several exceptional value (EV) streams in the Pine Creek watershed. In 2014, Tennessee paid $800,000 to settle claims that it violated the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law during construction of another pipeline project in this region of Pennsylvania. In light of this history, how can Tennessee be trusted to protect sensitive EV streams and wetlands in the Pine Creek watershed?
Furthermore, natural gas companies have leased nearby state forest lands for fracking; if the Susquehanna West Project is approved, then these companies would have an incentive to increase fracking in Tioga State Forest, damaging one of the most beautiful and remote areas in Pennsylvania. The impacts of the Susquehanna West Project are environmentally unacceptable.
Contact DEP by May 23, 2016 and tell it to DENY
Tennessee's request for water quality certification for the Susquehanna West Project.
Please send comments to David Garg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a draft letter to submit to the DEP
(Be sure to add any personal comments you may have about the area/waterbodies impacted)
Dear Mr. Garg:
I am writing to ask that you deny Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s (Tennessee) request for water quality certification for its proposed Susquehanna West Project (FERC Docket: CP15-148). The Susquehanna West Project would cause significant impacts to waterbodies and wetlands, including exceptional value (EV) streams in the Pine Creek watershed. In addition, it would likely induce further fracking on nearby state forest lands, further degrading Pennsylvania's public lands.
The DEP has an obligation to protect these sensitive ecological resources under Art. I, Sec. 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Just recently, Tennessee paid $800,000 in a settlement agreement with DEP to resolve "multiple violations" of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law stemming from construction of another pipeline project in this region of Pennsylvania. Considering the sensitive streams and wetlands that would be impacted here, DEP should deny Tennessee's request for water quality certification.
The Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force executive summary acknowledges that “permits are not reviewed for the cumulative and long-term impacts” and that “chosen routes do not necessarily avoid sensitive lands, habitats, and natural features.” Further, it states that these impacts are not always minimized or mitigated. DEP cannot continue to certify pipeline construction projects without considering the cumulative and long-term impacts of these projects on waterbodies and wetlands.
DEP should follow New York’s lead when it comes to analyzing pipeline construction impacts to waterbodies and wetlands. Just recently, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denied water quality certification for the Constitution Pipeline, which means that the company is legally prohibited from building the pipeline in New York.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
[Your contact info]