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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Bethlehem Tp Considers Pipeline Protection Ordinance

Solicitor Jim Broughal
Bethlehem Township Commissioners have authorized Solicitor Jim Broughal to revise the Township's Zoning Ordinance to protect residents from possible adverse consequences of a proposed 101-mile long high pressure, natural gas pipeline, 36" in diameter, extending from Wilkes-Barre to Trenton. It will traverse Bethlehem Township. "Some areas are highly populated," warned Broughal.
PennEast Pipeline, a consortium of local energy companies, has proposed the pipeline as a way to transport low cost natural gas from Marcellus Shale reserves to New Jersey. Its route in Northampton County will travel through Moore, Upper and Lower Nazareth, Bethlehem, Williams and Lower Saucon Townships. Arguments in favor of the project are 2,000 jobs created and 4.7 million homes heated. But it is opposed by numerous environmental groups, including the Sierra Club.

"We're not seeking to stop it," noted Broughal. "We're seeking to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the community." He indicated that current zoning makes no provisions for a pipeline of this size, and suggested the Township take precautions against the "effects of something happening." I don't even know what they are at this point."


Lighthouse said...

My concerns for this pipeline are not the pipeline itself, but the bigger picture of the impact of fracking.

However, the utilities have easements throughout the twp, so I have to wonder what kind of "protection" can be offered, especially at such a late stage of the game. When PPL contemplated some new lines a number of years ago, the Twp was pretty powerless to do much of anything when the public raised concerns. Besides, all of us benefit from the utilities coming to our homes. At some point in the past, it was viewed as progress to run such infrastructure.

That said, I am uncomfortable with the environmental effects of fracking itself, and think Corbett gave away millions of dollars to the industry by claiming they wouldn't tap it if we taxed it. But I acknowledge that that part of my obstructionist feelings are really separate from the right of a regulated public utilities to run lines. But Broughal's firm is top notch, so if the suggestion is coming from them I am sure there is a reason for this proposal. If it is coming from the BOC it is probably motivated by political cover.

Anonymous said...

The fracked gas will virtually all be exported. It won't be heating any local homes.
Run it through Green Pond.
Two problems solved.

Anonymous said...

Fracking is destroying water tables and destabilizing the substrata. We are fools.

Anonymous said...

There are high pressure petroleum pipe lines go through the township already. These lines are just as dangerous as that proposed.There are seriously dangerous lines going right through that new Shop Rite Center and the neighboring industrial park, yet the Township allowed development practically on top of them? Other than to feel good, not sure why the Township is now concerned about another pipeline?

Pipeline Guy said...

Agreed, 6:15am, this new line will be far safer than the aging transmission lines already existing in Bethlehem Twp. and surrounding areas, and the new one is proposed to mainly go through the commercial park on the west side of Rt. 33, not residential yards. I think it's funny that the opponents make no mention of the many existing lines that have been there since the 1950s or earlier, yet this new line is going to destroy civilization as we know it. Maybe because they don't even notice that they exist?

That being said, I think it is sad that there is practically no expansion of distribution lines to homes as a result of all of the fracking. The only way that natural gas service will be extended to a neighborhood is if it is a new development and the developer pays for it. I can tell you that UGI is a very thrifty organization and certainly won't do it on their own.

Fortunately in my older neighborhood there is gas in the street and I was able to switch from oil. Cut my heating cost from $2,000/yr. to $600.