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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PennEast Pipeline Meeting Draws Hundreds

Traffic was so crowded going in and out of the Hanover Township Community Center that a road crew had to manage the traffic. They were not there for the latest Pilates class, but an "open house" concerning the 108-mile pipeline being proposed by PennEast Pipeline. Hundreds of people were greeted by at least 30 blue-shirted PennEast Associates. In addition, at least 10 members of Laborers Local 158 were on hand, dressed in orange. Given the support by these major corporations and unions, I think it's highly likely that this pipeline is coming.

Stations were set up along the walls, where people could enter their addresses and see how close the pipeline would be to them. In the center of the room, spread out along several tables, there was a gigantic map showing the pipeline through each county.

A 36" pipe carrying high pressure natural gas will be buried 36", except in farming communities. There, the depth will be 4-6'.

"What happens if I hit the pipe?" I used Ken Robinson (he really works for UGI) several times.

"You don't want to do that," he laughed. he claimed the fire and explosion would be limited because the gas depends on oxygen to be flammable or something like that.

I don't recall that being the case in Allentown.

My main concern is how close this pipeline will come to residential developments in Bethlehem Township. A spokesperson promised to get back to me with an answer, if she can read my lousy handwriting.

From the interactive map online, it appears this pipeline will be very close to Wagner Farms and Orchard Estates. It appears to be about 2000' east of Notre Dame at Green Pond High School, and is less than 800' to the west of St. Luke's Hospital, Anderson Campus. In Lower Saucon and Williams Townships, it appears to steer clear of developments. In Moore Township, it appears to be located within 2000' of Moore Township Elementary School.

Another question concerns compressors for this gas. Those are above ground and strike me, as a layperson, as a cause for concern. I am told there will be only one compressor in the entire state, and its location is undecided at this time.

That's another thing. This route is not etched in stone, and could and probably will change.

But it's coming. There were several groups opposed to the Pipeline outside the Community Center. Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network were on hand.

Some officials from local townships were on hand, too. Cynthia Miller and Sandra Hopkins, two Lehigh Township Supervisors, took the tour. Cynthia told me that Lehigh, like Bethlehem Township, is revising its local zoning ordinance so that it has some control in the event that a course change puts it through Lehigh Township.

Tom Nolan, a Bethlehem Township Commissioner, had lots of questions.

Northampton County Director of Administration Luis Campos was also there.

If you have questions, you can visit PennEast Pipeline, call 844-347-7119 or email answers@penneastpipeline.com .

Opponents of the pipeline can be found at Stop the PennEast Pipeline. Hopewell Township, in New Jersey, and Riegelsville Borough, in Pennsylvania, have adopted resolutions opposing the pipeline. Riegelsville's was adopted tonight, during the open house. .

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happens if you hit a 36" high pressure pipe line? Everything withing a half mile is gone. It isn't going to increase your property values.

Anonymous said...

It DEFINITELY isn't going to increase your property values.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the proposed route of the pipeline double crosses RT 33 just so it runs through the V7 - Chrin Property

Matthew A. Dees said...

I'm sorry to say local zoning ordinances can not supersede the requirements set on the federal level for Labor & Industry standards. That is to say, local ordinances could require a 5000' distance of the pipeline from a residence. If the industry guidelines state 100', that is all that will be required.
Being on the Zoning Hearing Board in West Easton when a LP gas storage facility came before us, we got a quick legal lesson on the matter. In that instance our zoning called for a 50' setback from the property line. L&I required only 10'.
We could have fought it at great expense, but would have ultimately lost.
While I don't know what the requirements are for a pipeline it wouldn't surprise me if they could run it anywhere they choose to, in close proximity to schools, hospitals, and residences.
http://westeastonpa.com/gas-passed-in-west-easton-zoning-board-approved/

Felix Unger said...

bunch of crybabies, build it and move on

Anonymous said...

A typical response from a NIMBY.

c said...

Build it, China needs the cheap gas.

Anonymous said...

Tom Nolan asks questions to hear himself talk. He's an if you did it I did it better individual.

Anonymous said...

@8:45
Thanks for weighing in, Mrs. Hudak,

Anonymous said...

This pipeline will run through Bethlehem Township very near the existing Columbia Gas pipeline that runs right through the Madison Farms development.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think you may be right. That is a major development, but has not been built.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Matt, Thanks for your insight. I could see the need for uniformity. This pipeline, in my view, is too close to the hospital, but St. Luke's will probably allow itself to be bought off.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"A typical response from a NIMBY."

Concern about a 36" high pressure, natural gas pipeline that goes for 108 miles, and that could blow everything up within a half mile radius, is just common sense. It is not NIMBYism.

Matthew A. Dees said...

It appears the article in LVL, posted at 6:45 am) answers the setback question. PennEast is stating a 50' setback from the pipeline is required. That's likely the requirement of L&I legislation that they must adhere to.
These communities creating ordinances of 900' setbacks (or other restrictions they may be proposing) are going to find they won't be able to enforce them. IMHO

Anonymous said...

What is going on with the segment that terminates just east of the intermodal site in Bethlehem. Will the gas be liquefied there and shipped on rail? Maybe this is to benefit current and future industrial sites along that corridor. Just an observation.

Anonymous said...

OK......I am branding LVs first GasFEST. Looks like it passes close the Nazareth. We can have it at the speedway. Shouldn't bee too long until the cement plants hookup.

Anonymous said...

Did our high paid Mr. Campos ask anything?

Matt Miles said...

If a severance tax is passed in the state, look for the pipeline to get expedited as well.

Anonymous said...

So we'll have this hulking pipeline going through populated areas so the company can build the shortest route and make more money. Meanwhile, Corbett got nothing from these people at all for the taxpayers of the state. Alaskan citizens each get a check every year for the extraction of oil. All of PA's money goes into the stockholders' pockets.

Pipeline Guy said...

The 50' setback from a residence is a federal ("PHMSA", a part of the federal DOT) requirement.

I don't have a horse in this Penn East race, but one thing I would like to see out of all of this shale gas activity is expansion of natural gas distribution lines to existing neighborhoods so homeowners could convert their heating source and save $$. UGI won't do it unless the homeowners pay up big.

Bernie O'Hare said...

With fracking, the state trued to take exclusive control over zoning matters related to frackers. The PA S. Ct. declared it unconstitutional. So I think the point made by Matt needs research.

Also, I suspect laterals are part of the plan. Just not a public part, except for a lateral in Bethlehem to some industry.

Pipeline Guy said...

Additionally, if Penn East gets considered a "public utility" as far as the state is concerned, then nothing the townships do to stop this through ordinances will mean anything. This is likely, given that the backers of Penn East are public utilities.

Bernie O'Hare said...

First, the townships have not decided to stop this pipeline. Only two I know of are publicly against it. Second, it will likely be classified a public utility. Third, are you being paid? I mean, who calls himself Pipeline guy? I think it is a fair question bc you seem to have more knowledge on this topic than most. Your knowledge, however, is faulty. You claimed at one point that the pipeline in BT is nowhere near any residences. That is wrong. If you are being paid, I prefer that you disclose that fact and just be honest about it.I have no problem with you making your points here, but I would like you to explain your enthusiasm and whether it is motivated by lucre.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes that accidentally rupturing this pipeline could lead to half a mile of destruction, doesn't know anything about natural gas

Lighthouse said...

I have serious concerns about fracking itself, and its impact on the environment. While prerequisite to the pipeline, it really is another matter, however.

Sticking just to the pipeline, we all have benefited from the infrastructure that came before us, whether it be roads or utilities. Temporary inconveniences for long-term progress. At the end of the day, I do not believe the Commonwealth will allow municipalities do much. Much heartburn will be generated, and in the end folks will walk away all the more cynical of government.

Having said that, looking on their website's proposed route they would have to condemn the property behind the wall at the corner of Wm Penn and Country Club. Also their pipeline construction is not even slated to begin until 2017. Huge, huge impact--as the route is proposed-- on the Madison Farms construction timeline that I do not think was taken into consideration. I can see them tweeking it to cut across the northern edge of that, and down the western edge. That would not make Wagner Farms residents happy.

Looking at a map, I could see another possible route, but it would create even more uproar than what is proposed. But, all should be aware that they will likely go the route of least financial resistance between eminent domain & lawsuits.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Looks like the biggest impact on NC is Bethlehem Tp. I agree they will adjust their path, but it is going to affect people in BT more than anywhere else.

Pipeline Guy said...

Bernie,
I am not paid by anyone to post anything. I have no affiliation with PennEast or any of its partners. However, I have worked in the industry for many years, so naturally this project in general and posts about it catch my interest more than the typical story on your blog, which I have been reading for several years now on a daily basis. I even have a collection of historic pipeline/oil/gas signs in my basement, to give you an idea of where I'm coming from

Frankly, I wouldn't want it in my yard either, so I am sympathetic to the plight of the affected property owners. However, I take a realistic view of the avenues of opposition they may have, and know when a fight is a waste of time.

Yes, it appears the pipeline will now be close to homes in BT. Not the first time I've been wrong about something. I believe my prior comment you referenced came from when I saw on the map the pipeline running through the industrial park next to 33, and forgot that Madison Farms hasn't been built yet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thank you for explaining why you are so interested. I know lots of people who are fascinated by RRs, so I can see and understand your interest. So far as I know, the only thing you got wrong so far concerns BT. It is going to come close to some homes. I also think there will eventually be more than one lateral. I think that plan is being kept under wraps until this one is approved.

As someone who worked in the industry, can you explain why liquefied gas is not being considered? A friend asked me this and I had no answer. We both figures that would be more costly. But wouldn't it be safer?

Pipeline Guy said...

You ask why LNG is not being considered...I assume you mean for shipment on the PennEast pipeline.

My understanding (and this is from someone who never directly dealt with LNG, so take it with a grain of salt) is that LNG has to be kept extremely cold, like negative 250F, at all times. Pipeline technology at this time cannot support this requirement over long distances in a manner that makes any economic sense. It would be ridiculously expensive. Most LNG is shipped by sea in specially equipped tankers. I don't believe there are any long-haul LNG pipelines yet, at least not in the US. The LNG plants typically receive natural gas by pipeline and convert it to LNG for shipment by sea, so most are located on or near major waterways.

In order for LNG to burn, it needs to be released out of the chilled environment, which makes it vaporize, then it needs an ignition source. After that, I can't say if the resulting fire/explosion would be any different from one resulting from regular natural gas. I don't think anyone needs to worry about future LNG activity in the Lehigh Valley.

John Moran said...

If I recall correctly, the original route remained west of 33 through the entire Wm. Penn area. Now it comes within 600-800 feet of those of us in the Wm. Penn/Georgian Ln. area.

I thought I had read that they were required to do mailings to properties within that range - I've certainly never received anything, nor have my neighbors.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They are required to give notice.