In an environmental assessment issued today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency tried to make the case that a 39-mile pipeline project that would slice through the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania and tear up almost 600 acres of land would have ‘no significant impact’ on the environment.
The announcement comes one day after local business owners and residents kicked off the start of the summer tourist season with a ‘Picnics, Not Pipelines’ event and a plea to local, state, and federal officials to preserve the region’s scenic beauty and way of life in the face of the proposed gas pipeline project.
The Central New York Oil and Gas Company wants to install an industrial gas pipeline that would replace wooded mountains and pastoral landscapes with 39 miles of pipeline, additional miles of lateral gathering lines, access roads, massive compressor units, filter separators, gas coolers and other industrial machinery. View a map of the proposed pipeline route. (PDF)
For generations, visitors have flocked to the Endless Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania to enjoy the region’s river gateways, rolling hills, family farms, river towns, historic districts and quaint rural villages—helping to feed the state’s $26-billion-a-year tourism industry.
FERC’s announcement today signals that the agency does not plan to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, a more thorough and comprehensive review. The public has until June 27 to submit comments on FERC’s assessment.
Groups, including Earthjustice, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Coalition for Responsible Growth & Resource Conservation believe that an Environmental Impact Statement is necessary and should take into account the effect not only of the pipeline itself, but the additional gas drilling the pipeline will spur.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Associate Attorney Hannah Chang:
“This region of the country is already struggling to cope with an explosive rate of gas drilling and an outbreak of industrial accidents and pollution related to rushed and irresponsible development. If it proceeds as planned, this pipeline project will only make matters worse. State and local officials in Pennsylvania have allowed Marcellus shale gas development and infrastructure construction to proceed without any comprehensive environmental analysis. Quite simply, this approach has produced disastrous results. Federal officials need to step in, take a look at the big picture, and take the time to review this project thoroughly. Too much is at stake.”