Monday, July 22, 2019

Zrinski Blasts Bethlehem Tp, Legislators Over PennEast Pipeline

It's no longer just nonbinding plastic straw bans. Northampton County Council member Tara Zrinski is now pursuing a new resolution, also nonbinding, taking aim at the PennEast Pipeline route through Bethlehem Tp. This one calls for an evacuation plan and asks PennEast to provide equipment for first responders. Her resolution was discussed by Council's Energy Committee on July 17. "I can't just sit by and not do something," she said. She was highly critical of Bethlehem Township's Board of Commissioners and state lawmakers, who have already negotiated an agreement under which the Township will receive $475,000.

PennEast Pipeline is a consortium of natural gas companies who want a 36" compressed natural gas pipeline extending 115 miles from Luzerne County to New Jersey. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted conditional approval on January 19, 2018. Northampton County Council has already adopted two resolutions, both penned by Zrinski, opposed to the pipeline.

In May, Bethlehem Township’s five Commissioners unanimously approved a deal with PennEast under which the consortium agreed to move the pipeline 109’ farther away from residences. It promised to bury the pipeline 4-feet deep instead of the usual 2-3’. It pledged periodic inspections, including x-rays of pipe welds. Finally, it assented to a $475,000 cash payout to the Township. This followed a year of negotiations that included Commissioners, Solicitor Jim Broughal, State Rep. Marcia Hahn and State Senator Lisa Boscola.

Zrinski slammed the deal because, she says, the Township has failed to provide for an evacuation route that passes near residents, schools and hospitals.
"They threw their hands up. They said they had Lisa Boscola on this, they had Marcia Hahn on this and they couldn't negotiate. Their lawyer said, 'Go ahead, take the 475.' They didn't ask for new firetrucks, emergency preparedness equipment. When you have PennEast in front of you, and they're doling out millions of dollars to the water authority and you say, 'Oh yes, I'll take your first offer of $475,000.' Mind blown."
Zrinski also challenged the motives of negotiators. "I think you have to look at the people who are negotiating these pipelines," she cautioned. "They have different interests in them than we have," she said, failing to explain what she meant.

At one point, she said she wanted to invite Bethlehem Tp Solicitor Jim Broughal in for questioning.

Zrinski wants to bring PennEast back to the table and get more equipment for first responders. She noted that homes, schools and even a maternity ward are within the 900' blast zone, but "[t]he $475,000 that Bethlehem Township received or will receive is hardly enough for even a firetruck."

She said one of the Township's Commissioners told her there is no evacuation route. She complained local municipalities are "unprepared to negotiate with pipeline companies or ask for the things that are necessary."

"This poses a significant risk for people in this area for evacuation," she complained. She said some residents would only have 40 seconds to evacuate. "It doesn't matter how much money you have when your house melts," she continued.

In addition to criticizing Commissioners, Zrinski also slammed state lawmakers. "If our legislators are not doing their jobs, we have to push them to do it."

Zrinski is currently running against to State Representative Marcia Hahn. She is also a solar energy sales representative.

She did most of the talking at this committee, which she chairs. It was difficult for Council members to offer suggestions or ask questions without being interrupted by her.

Council President Ron Heckman did have a chance to express some reservations.: "Will it make a difference at the end of the day?" he asked of a nonbinding resolution. "It has absolutely no meaning to them or anyone else whatsoever."

Zrinski sharply disagreed. She warned that, unless the county acts, "We're going to get railroaded and put people in danger."

But is she right?

Commissioners Strongly Dispute Zrinski's Assertions

Three Bethlehem Township Commissioners - John Merhottein, JohnGallagher and Malissa Davis - have teamed up with a joint response to Zrinski's proposed resolution.

"Our issue with Ms. Zrinski's comments regarding PennEast is she never appears to read below the headline. If she would have attended the meeting (or asked us) when we voted to accept the agreement with PennEast, she would have known we offered to accept no money if they would move the pipeline out of the blast zone of Hope Ridge (PennEast Declined). The water authority has nothing to do with Bethlehem Township.

"Neither St. Lukes (assuming she means the maternity ward) nor any school are in the blast zone. Ms. Zrinski again muddles the facts to suit her purpose.

"Our mandate, under circumstances where we had no legal position to change things, was to protect Hope Ridge and we accomplished some pretty significant safety improvements.

"Here are the facts: PennEast had FERC approval. They did not have to negotiate with us. We negotiated and got the following safety concerns: Moving the pipeline over 100 feet from the proposed route, inspections as a class 4 pipeline, 100% x-ray of welds on the pipe, the pipeline buried an additional foot and the Residents in that area asked for a tree line. We did not accept the first offer from PennEast. Our ultimate goal was to move the pipeline as far as possible from Hope Ridge.

"We never 'threw our hands up'. Consider the position we were in with negotiating with PennEast (PennEast could have condemned the land, we could have gotten no safety concessions and less money). We are proud of what we accomplished. There were numerous phone calls and emails; a PennEast meeting with residents; and two negotiation sessions. We would not consider that throwing our hands up.

"Our 'lawyer' never said 'take the 475'. As a matter of fact, our Solicitor did what any good Solicitor should do, guided us through the negotiations, presented the facts and allowed the Board to make the decision. We did not accept the first monetary offer from PennEast.

"As for the 'people who are negotiating these pipelines' and their 'interests in them', we can assure the residents of Bethlehem Township and Ms. Zrinski, our interest is and was the safety of our residents. Moving the pipeline farther away from Hope Ridge and the additional safety concessions we received are proof of that. We could have probably gotten more money and fewer safety concessions.

"We would like to note we do have an emergency response plan in conjunction with the County.

"As for what was or was not asked for, Tara Zrinski was not in the negotiation. She didn't ask anyone on our negotiating team what we asked for, nor did she offer any suggestions. She never asked to sit in on negotiations. It is easy to criticize from afar, especially after the fact. Senator Lisa Boscola and Representative Marcia Hahn reached out to us and asked what they could do. Where was Tara?

"On a personal note, for Ms. Zrinski to make these comments, nonetheless put it in a resolution, without getting all the facts is hurtful and self-serving, not only to this Board, but to the public we both serve."

Commissioner John Merhottein
Commissioner Malissa Davis
Commissioner John Gallagher

Blogger's Assessment: In 2008, Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano sanctioned Tara Zrinski for perjury in a custody dispute. She continues to play fast and loose with the facts. She attempted to rush her pipeline resolution. She placed it on the agenda for Thursday night though she failed to submit it until the Monday before the meeting. When Council members attempted to question her, she talked over them and incessantly interrupted, getting louder as the meeting continued. As we know now, and from Township officials, her proposed resolution was at least reckless with the facts, if not outright lies.

She smeared the entire board, four of whom are Democrats, just like her. Malissa Davis and John Gallagher are both practicing environmentalists, while John Merhottein is a fiscal hawk who would shake down PennEast for every penny he can get.

She also derided two state lawmakers who, unlike her, volunteered their time and services in this negotiation.

What Zrinski really wanted was political mileage in a run against Hahn. This will now backfire. First, she was reckless and tried fear-mongering and alarmism instead of truth. Second, she alienated natural allies like Davis and Gallagher. Third, she has given Hahn an issue to use against her. Fourth, she has lost credibility with her fellow Council members. No one should support anything she proposes unless it is thoroughly vetted.

For this irresponsible behavior, she should asked to step down as Chair of the Energy Committee.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just, wow.

Anonymous said...

Pipelines help make America great!

Anonymous said...

Think of them as the arteries and veins that move America's economic lifeblood.

Anonymous said...

Based on this I watched the video, painful. Did note that council president Heckman asked here about her stated facts and she screamed she researched everything. So someone is wrong here. It was less of a meeting and more of a temper tantrum. The woman sound unhinged. She has a fight on her hands if she wants to beat Hahn for the state house. County council must be cringing. Did she actually demand that people be "summoned" to come before her?

Anonymous said...

She is a 1 person Northampton County "SQUAD"

Anonymous said...

Please share more on the perjury issue. Most people will do anything to keep their kids, but few perjure themselves. On top of that I believe her kids refused to live with her if you read her Facebook page.

Why is this an issue for her? Doesn't she live in Hanover Township. Her rant has nothing to do about her position on council.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Did she actually demand that people be "summoned" to come before her?"

You saw the video so you know she did not say that. She did muse about inviting different groups.

Anonymous said...

America has opportunities for all, this women and her cohorts around the country, are all free to purchase some rural land and live in tents and live off the land, you cannot live in a modern industrial society without energy, and you cannot do it with scarce expensive energy. If you want to return to pre-industrial society you have that right and should go for it if it makes you happy. One other thing, you cannot power a modern society on solar panels and wind mills.

Anonymous said...

All pipe line welds are x rayed before they go in the ground.

Anonymous said...

Irks me in that the gas is not being used by local consumers but being shipped overseas!

Anonymous said...

She is an idiot yet a number of the people who voted for her will never take the time to listen to her rantings. I hope Wild distances herself from her. Wish she would get a real job in some third world country so she can advocate for them. I can think of some far off deserts where she can "shine" her light. Thanks for keeping us up to date on the circus. Hope she is not a frequent "nut" in her back yard. Just imagine her meddling in other areas. Please, please can't some other state recognize her "potential" and give her a job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Please share more on the perjury issue. Most people will do anything to keep their kids, but few perjure themselves. On top of that I believe her kids refused to live with her if you read her Facebook page.

Why is this an issue for her? Doesn't she live in Hanover Township. Her rant has nothing to do about her position on council."


She loves in HT, but BT is part of Marcia Hahn's district. That's the real reason why this suddenly became an issue. You can be anti-pipeline, but you have an obligation to be truthful. Zrinski is not.

I do not read her FB page. She blocked me after I criticized her here, lol.

Anonymous said...

This is the new Democratic Party emerging in a longtime stronghold of the old Democratic Party. The old big tent is being replaced by a much smaller one to the left that's not very welcoming to the old guard.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Based on this I watched the video, painful."

She wasted so much time on this issue, and with misinformation, that her committee had next to no time to evaluate and review open space projects submitted by Brian Cope.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"he old big tent is being replaced by a much smaller one to the left that's not very welcoming to the old guard."

That's fine but she has an obligation to make an effort to be accurate. She did not. There were blatant errors.

Anonymous said...

was it an unanswered email, an unreturned phone call, or a social media blockade that caused the rabbid jackal to grind his top/ bottom canines down to their roots, salivate, and devote the rest of his non existent life to defaming a strong, independant woman? Or was it all three? Maybe she slammed her door in your face, too

which senior citizen is being extorted today, asshole?

Anonymous said...

This was nothing but a side show-She's an opportunist who's crazy! She constantly screams & yells w/o any facts- what a fool! Even though I'm no fan of Marcia Hahn, she will destroy her on election day.

Anonymous said...

Smoke filled backroom negotiations: Ok, authority x gets x$$$$ and township y gets x$...

Anonymous said...

7:46 am, is that little tent out back and to the left of there mommas big tent on the back midway? Both tent back there are filled with freeks and geeks clown cars in tow.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"was it an unanswered email, an unreturned phone call, or a social media blockade that caused the rabbid jackal to grind his top/ bottom canines down to their roots, salivate, and devote the rest of his non existent life to defaming a strong, independant woman? Or was it all three? Maybe she slammed her door in your face, too

which senior citizen is being extorted today, asshole?"


Mezzacraycray, Go post warnings on parked cars.

Anonymous said...

"Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

Anonymous said...

can you sample her awful cackle after every statement and have a wave file for all of your readers to listen to?

Peter J.Cochran said...

Pipelines move energy that produces goods and services that pay taxes that support, evan the complainers. Less overall risk of loss exists than on railroad tracks,and rolling on our overcrowded highways. Evan in the event of war , if we are forced into a war - that energy must flow and like WW11 Production must get ramped up. It safer,more efficient 3 feet under than in rail cars .

Anonymous said...

Don't quit your day job Tara,this politics thing, not for you. Walking gaffe machine is a mantle you wear well. Your ego and mouth will keep you from attaining the power you so desperately seek.

Anonymous said...

Penn East Pipeline coughed up $475,000 to please Beth Twp, so they can get their pipeline done. Scratching head here, about why pay-to-play is only condemned when certain figure heads are involved, but not all.

MT said...

Wow - Trying to get political mileage after the fact. If this person becomes a state representative the Lehigh Valley will be in real trouble. How did this person get elected to Council in the first place? (being political correct not she but person). Demo out of control.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted numerous comments that come anonymously and pseudonymously from Tricia Mezzacappa, aka Tricia Phillips.

Anonymous said...

Can you screen shot the comments before deleting them and post them separately? Or have a Tricia only comment section. Sometimes she posts some funny, albeit bat shit crazy, stuff.

Anonymous said...

How did this person get elected to Council in the first place?

High anti-Trump turnout straight party lever voters in 2017.

Anonymous said...

!2:55,
Exactly right. Hayden Phillips (R) was a better choice. He was the only (R) I voted for.

Anonymous said...

Ok Bob, I mean 1:03pm

Anonymous said...

Congresswoman Wild has contributed to the Zrinski campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Can you screen shot the comments before deleting them and post them separately? Or have a Tricia only comment section. Sometimes she posts some funny, albeit bat shit crazy, stuff."

No. Her comments are far from funny They are ugly and vulgar, just like her.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Congresswoman Wild has contributed to the Zrinski campaign."

I see no contribution from Wild to her.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Ok Bob, I mean 1:03pm"

I voted for him, too.

Anonymous said...

Check Zrinskis fund raiser website for confirmation of a donation.

Anonymous said...

HowZ aboutZ my commentZ being screenshotZ before being deleted, I am also batshitZ cRaZy too?
republican redd
humanist by design

William House said...

YOu have been banned at MM's blog and this one REDD get lost go play with Richard Cranium on topix Atown you muppet!

Anonymous said...

Who will speak for the trees killed in vain for this useless resolution?

Bernie O'Hare said...

”Check Zrinskis fund raiser website for confirmation of a donation”

I checked.. no confirmation. Just bc she engages in disinformation is no excuse for you todo so.

Anonymous said...

Bernie you are a hater of the earth, get back on the bike blog boy and stop polluting with your combustion motor. Zrinkski uses cloth bags at the whole foods, buys organic and cycles most most of the time,.

Blue Badger

Anonymous said...

The Ridge Street Stunner, Mediterranean Manslab and Terra Zirinski.

The BatShitCrazy Squad!!

Peter J. Cochran said...

In fact , after tonight’s electrical storm ,some of you that bought light weight construction houses with no lightning arresters , some from developer that sold you with fake dormers,look nice but “junk bonds” of housing . Lots a money ,but junk . I say if the house is hit by lightning your place will go to the ground before you volunteer fire Department can apply water. I may name them soon . I was a qualified Pro-Board Firefighter -EMT and loved my job in Easton 24 yrs.and been thought 2 U.S.Navy Fire Schools total time 28 years . Hopefully youll be able to evacuate your family with no injuries. I can’t expect you to to know this .

Peter JCochran said...

The reason I posted my last ,was because your at higher risk living in a lightweight home in a lightning strome than a pipeline in your back yard . It would not bother me the least ,personally.The standard Of care ,the welding,and the the physics implored are far above what we deal with in ordinary life.

Anonymous said...

Zirnski blames the shooting in Allentown on angry old white men.

Peter J.Cochran said...

I’m not entertaining a clown with no combat experience and thinks after a few vadka s . You are a shit for brains and wouldn’t evan. Ale a staiin in in my underwear . You would never front of me for your a bully douchbag.,drunk ,I know all about you ,know where you live conditions of your garbage and your banking. . I d defend our Judge and that’s it. Come get me .Asshole.

Peter JCochran said...

I never committed to anything before on Bob Ryan , your comments are not true.

Anonymous said...

Zirinski is the leader of the democrat county government. She is their spokesperson just like AOC This is what the voters have, She carries the banner for her ticket of decorates.

Anonymous said...

White peoples bad.

Anonymous said...

Tara represents new democrats. You are an old white man and are not needed in the new world.

Anonymous said...

It is a puzzle to me why anyone would vote for someone like this. We are plagued by low information voters.....or straight ticketers! Either way, we all lose.

Anonymous said...

The real question is what are her fellow members of council doing to isolate her out-of-touch positions.

So far, they've been going along with and voting for whatever she proposes. So they agree with her.

Unless the others grow a spine and start standing up to her, they deserve to be voted out of office.

Also, Zrinski has an obvious conflict of interest, and should be removed from the Energy Committee. If the others can't see this, (again) they should also be removed.

Anonymous said...

She is a crazy nit. Didn't she have like three kids with two or three guys? A judge could have thrown her in jail for lying right? This is who the democrats want to lead them? No wonder McClure is in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Is she really running for Hahn's seat? I thought it was a joke. She wi8ll be entertaining. ROAR on display.