Monday, June 26, 2017

40 Groups Urge Gov. Wolf, DEP To Deny Permits For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

A coalition of 40 community organizations, farms, environmental organizations, and local businesses representing over 436,727 members and constituencies Monday delivered a coalition letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary McDonnell urging the DEP to deny permit applications for the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.
DEP is reviewing the application for this nearly 200-mile Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, which would transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to Maryland for export and to supply gas plants in North Carolina and Florida. Transco, the parent company of the proposed Atlantic
The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline must obtain Chapter 102 and 105 permits from the DEP for wetland and waterway crossings and earth disturbances.
If approved, the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline would directly impact ten Pennsylvania counties and cross hundreds of wetlands and waterbodies — many of which are designated high quality or exceptional value.
The pipeline would directly affect 45,000 residents and place 19,000 homes in the evacuation zone, according to a recent report commissioned by the Sierra Club and Appalachian Mountain Advocates.
The Key Log report estimates the lost value and benefits Pennsylvania would lose from this pipeline in food production, water supply, air quality, erosion control, biological diversity, soil fertility and waste treatment is estimated to be $6.2 to $22.7 million, while annual costs for this diminished ecosystem would be approximately $2.9 to $11.4 million per year.
“The mission statement of the DEP is ‘to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment,’ but it is clear that the cumulative impacts of the Atlantic Sunrise project will cause massive environmental degradation and put citizens in harm’s way,” said Ann Pinca, President of Lebanon Pipeline Awareness. “The DEP cannot approve these permits without directly violating its own mission statement.”
"The applications for this destructive project are still incomplete and deficient," said Alex Bomstein, Senior Litigation Attorney of Clean Air Council. "It would be premature and against the law for DEP to permit this pipeline without first making sure Williams fixes the problems in its applications."
“The only rational way forward for Pennsylvania is to invest in and support renewable, sustainable energy solutions, not allow the building of more fracked gas pipelines that are intended to be in service far longer than we can afford to rely on fossil fuels. The letter we’re submitting to Gov. Wolf and Secretary McDonnell lays out ample arguments that justify a rejection of the Chapter 102 and 105 permits for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. So the only question that remains is whether or not the administration will come down on the side of reason or if it will continue its failed and irresponsible policy of supporting natural gas infrastructure,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth.
“This project has failed to receive both the serious environmental review and adequate public participation necessary,” said Patrick Grenter, Senior Campaign Representative of Sierra Club. “People from around Pennsylvania have voiced their sustained opposition to this dangerous proposal. It is time for Governor Wolf to listen to his constituents and reject this pipeline.”
“A technical review on just one portion of this pipeline application in Schuylkill County shows nine areas where this permit application is grossly unprotective, incomplete and inadequate,” said Faith Zerbe, Director of Monitoring, Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “Exceptional Value waterbodies and anti-degradation standards deserve and warrant far greater protection than what is being proposed by the pipeline applicant - the cost to our environment and health is too high and risky. Governor Wolf and his DEP have an opportunity to protect Pennsylvania and we urge them to use their power to deny the water permits.”
“Fossil fuels have left legacy contamination and polluted waterways in Pennsylvania we are still cleaning up with taxpayer money long after the industry is gone. It’s time we look to the future and invest in sustainable and renewable jobs, not more fracking and pipeline build outs that will lock us into harmful climate trapping exploitation for decades to come, said Leah Zerbe, CoFounder, Schuylkill Pipeline Awareness. “We urge Gov. Wolf to stand up for Pennsylvania families and the environment and deny these permits.”
The letter is a follow up to concerned residents who attended public hearings held subsequently and on the heels of the community requesting, at minimum an extension beyond the June 26th deadline for further scrutiny and public review of the pipeline company’s applications.
The groups sending the letter include: Air Coalition of Tunkhannock,  Aquashicola/ Pohopoco Watershed Conservancy, Berks Gas Truth, Breathe Easy Susquehanna County, Bucks Environmental Action, Chester County Sierra Club, Citizens for a Sane Energy Policy, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County, Damascus Citizens For Sustainability, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Green America, Greenbelt Climate Action Network, Lancaster Against Pipelines, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Lancaster Friends Meeting Environmental Concerns Committee, League of Humane Voters, Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, Mason Pipeline Committee, Mud and Maker, New Jersey Sierra Club, Omega-Alpha Recycling Systems, Paunacussing Watershed Association, Peace Action Network of Lancaster, Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean Water EV Committee, Pennsylvania Earth Guardians, Pennsylvania Sierra Club, Plains Township Residents Against PennEast, Potter’s Farm, Protect Penn-Delco, Quittapahilla Watershed Association, Rachel Carson Council, Radnor Racquet Club, Responsible Drilling Alliance, Sane Energy Project, Schuylkill Pipeline Awareness, Shalefield Organizing Committee, StopNED, and the Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN).
A copy of the letter is available online.
For more information on the status of permit reviews, visit DEP’s Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline webpage.

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