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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, August 07, 2015

NorCo Council Hears PennEast Pipeline Presentation

David Messersmith, of Penn State Extension, is a Governor Wolf appointee to the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce. At their August 5 meeting, he told Northampton County Council what to expect from the proposed PennEast Pipeline, which is projected to transport natural gas a distance of 105-miles from Wilkes-Barre to Trenton, New Jersey. Its path takes it through Northampton County.

In February, Messersmith told a concerned group in Moore Township that farmers would be eligible for compensation due to lost crops.

Messersmith, who is neither advocating for or against the pipeline, noted it is one of 12 or 13 pipelines extending for 3,000 miles in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. He described PennEast Pipeline as an interstate pipeline that will be regulated at first by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and later, by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT).

He described the pipe as between 20-42", with a pressure of 500-1400 psi, and capable of delivering 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day. The pipe will be buried 3' underground. There will be a compressor station, located north of Northampton County, along with seven interconnects or laterals. One of these will be in Northampton County, near the proposed inland rail port. He indicated the pipe will last 50-70 years without replacement.

Ninety per cent of the land acquired for this 50' wide pipeline will be acquired by private negotiation, though PennEast will have the power to use eminent domain.

What can local officials do? According to Messersmith, they sould consult with project sponsors, educate residents, increase training of first responders and adopt ordinances that manage new development near the pipeline. He indicated that FERC will likely honor the state Safe Streams Act, but not local ordinances that attempt to regulate it.

Are pipelines safe? According to Messersmith a study of safety over a 20-year period involving 10,000 miles of pipeline reveals that there are 2.6 incidents per year. Over that time, there have only been two injuries and no fatalities.

He told Lamont McClure that in New Jersey, there is a property tax assessed on the easement. In Pennsylvania, it will be assessed on the property owner.  

In Bethlehem Township, a consultant hired to study the impact of the pipeline is expected to present his findings known later this month or in September.


Anonymous said...

Transporting by rail, as is done daily through the LV, should be of far more concern. Do locals have contingency plans for fuel/rail disasters? Fewer pipelines = more rail tankers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe our local jurisdictions do have contingency plans for rail disasters, but always believed that was pretty safe. Of course, if something goes wrong, it goes wrong big time.

Anonymous said...

Screw that pipeline, wont help anyone in the Lehigh valley.