--> Equal access to DRBC staff as has been given to PennEast -- including site visits and expert presentations,--> DRBC telling the public, like it surely has told PennEast, how much of the pipeline it is planning to review and regulate,--> A commitment that DRBC will reject PennEast's offer to help respond to public comments,--> A determination that the information PennEast has submitted is so deficient, incomplete, false and/or misleading that DRBC is deferring further consideration until such time as the application is formally deemed complete,--> A commitment that DRBC will not issue a draft docket or hold public hearings until DRBC has formally determined the PennEast application materials are fully complete and accurate.
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FULL LETTER reads as follows:
Steven J. Tambini, Executive DirectorDelaware River Basin Commission25 State Policy DriveWest Trenton, NJ 08628-0360
Re: PennEast Pipeline Project – Jurisdiction, Tour, Presentation, Process
Dear Mr. Tambini,
PennEast Pipeline construction will, at a minimum, impact 1,613.5 acres of land (1,065.2 acres for pipeline facilities, 110.1 acres for access roads; 372.3 acres for pipe and contractor ware yards, 31.1 acres for above ground facilities), will cut through at least 255 waterbodies (including 159 perennial, 45 intermittent, 40 ephemeral, 11 open water), 633 acres of forest, 91 wetlands, impact “several” vernal pools, and infringe upon and damage habitat for threatened and endangered species of bat, sturgeon, snake, turtle, mussels and more. In addition, it will cut 730 properties with its Right of Way, will place 54,579 people, 23,293 homes in the evacuation zone, and will place 40 parcels within half a mile of the compressor station. While the Delaware River Basin Commission’s mission may not be concerned about impacts to the residents of the region, and the safety of our homes, it weighs on the minds and hearts of those fighting this project.
A recent review of the record demonstrates that representatives for the PennEast Pipeline Company have had significant access to the DRBC and its staff for presentations, site visits, questions and answers, and has been making inappropriate offers of assistance to the Commission. We also know, from our own review of the records, that the PennEast Pipeline Company continues to provide agencies, including the DRBC, and the public with inaccurate, incomplete, false and misleading information as part of their ongoing campaign to secure government approvals for its pipeline project.
For these reasons we write to make the following requests:
We request that the public be given equal time and access for our experts and community representatives to the DRBC staff. According to documents on the record, DRBC has held several meetings, tours/site visits and received expert presentations from the PennEast Pipeline Company and its representatives. In order to avoid an inherently biased understanding of the PennEast Pipeline Project, DRBC must give equal access and consideration to the expert analyses and the data the community has amassed and provided for your understanding and review. To that end, we are requesting the public be given at least two days to provide expert presentations to the DRBC staff regarding impacts to water resources from the proposed pipeline, that we are given at least two days to tour areas of particular concern along the pipeline route with DRBC staff, and that community representatives are given a face to face meeting with DRBC staff to discuss the project. Please contact Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, to make the necessary arrangements. (email@example.com 215 369 1188 ext 102).
We ask you to provide confirmation that the DRBC has rejected PennEast’s offer to help review and respond to public comments regarding the project. In a June 2, 2017 email PennEast offered to “help address public comments that the DRBC receives on the Project” i.e. PennEast. It is obvious that PennEast is not an independent entity that would fully, fairly and objectively consider comments offered by the public or other agencies. It is wholly inappropriate for DRBC to, in anyway, rely on PennEast to review, assess, consider and respond to comments submitted from the public and their experts. We would like to see, in writing, confirmation that DRBC has rejected this “offer”.
We request a firm written statement of the DRBC’s interpretation of the extent of its jurisdiction when it comes to the PennEast Pipeline project so we can understand and respond accordingly. It is clear that PennEast has been fully apprised of the extent to which you intend to exercise your jurisdiction over the project. The public would like equal access to this important information and therefore request that DRBC issue a written statement fully disclosing this information for our benefit and understanding.
We urge you to issue a determination that the information you have received regarding the PennEast pipeline project is significantly deficient, incomplete and in many aspects false and/or misleading and therefore DRBC is deferring further consideration of the project until such time as you have made a formal determination that the application materials are complete.
Finally, we urge you to issue a letter confirming that DRBC does not intend to hold public hearings or issue a draft docket for PennEast until DRBC has made a formal determination that application materials filed with your Commission are complete and fully accurate.