West Amwell Citizens Against the Pipeline (WACAP) made a number of submissions to FERC during the 30 day extended comment period from November 4th, 2016 to December 5th, 2016. There were serious issues with routing in the vicinity of Old Route 518 West, issues with the Suez water site at Swan Creek, concerns about incomplete and ambitious Horizontal Directional Drilling proposals, and many objections to the proposed access road on Stymiest Road near the Swan Creek Reservoir site.
The West Amwell Township Committee and associated officials also made a comprehensive submission to FERC on behalf of the residents. All of them will be linked and detailed here.
First up, we have our protest of many impacts radiating outward from the area of Old Rt 518 West:
We highlight a number of truly awful decisions PennEast has made in this area, including:
- Construction within a 12 feet of houses
- Open trenching through roads like Hewitt Road and Old 518 W
- Impacts to Swan Creek Reservoir and Suez site
- Destruction of vernal pools and historical quarries
- Impacts on Goat Hill Natural Heritage Priority Site
- Severe impacts to Baldpate Mountain and Associated Important Bird Area (IBA)
- Proximity to learning and sports centers frequented by our children such as Hewitt Park and the Howell Living History farm
We protest strenuously the many impacts to Stymiest Road due to a proposed access road by PennEast:
The impacts include:
- Stymiest Road has a rich history going back to before the Revolutionary War. This history is well-documented, and worse of all, PennEast surveyors were appraised of this history in person by local historians.
- It is a one-lane dirt road which cannot support heavy construction vehicles or heavy traffic of any kind
- PennEast traffic would block egress/ingress of local residents since the road is a dead end road
- It would likely destroy the single-lane bridge which is the sole connection to town for residents
- It connects to Quarry Street in Lambertville, a narrow 25mph zone with speed humps that is not suitable for construction traffic.
- Widening of road and construction of the access road will increase erosion and potential for flooding in an area already prone to severe flooding
We comment on the near-emergency drought conditions here in NJ:
We have a number of comments about the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) proposal for Alexauken Creek and vicinity:
We note that the extreme length of the proposed HDD attempt (1.2 miles!), lack of geotechnical surveys to validate the HDD is truly possible, the very real possibility of the HDD failing and PennEast turning to open trenching of Alexauken Creek, and call on FERC to demand that all potential impacts be captured in the DEIS and not just a fantasy proposal from PennEast with no science or engineering behind it.
We co-authored a report with several local CAP organizations on the “Important Bird Area Avoidance” routes PennEast published on November 23rd:
These proposals were made by PennEast to supposedly answer concerns of US Fish & Wildlife Service, but in fact these proposals are exceptionally rushed and shoddy work with no supporting documentation or details for people to evaluate.
Finally, we have an omnibus comment from West Amwell Township officials, including:
- Zach Rich, Mayor
- John Dale, Deputy Mayor
- Steve Bergenfeld, Township Commiteeman
- Rob Tomenchok, Plainning Board Chair
- Cathy Urbanski, Environmental Commission Chair
Their submission covers much of the same ground as the WACAP submissions, and also goes into more detail on the Goat Hill Natural Heritage Priority Site, lack of Purpose and Need, lack of information for NJDEP permits, public safety issues, environmental and ground water impacts, and concerns of impacts on the Sourlands.