Monday Deadline for Comments on PA Gas Pipeline Expansion
Friday, April 22, 2022
Pennsylvanians have until Monday to submit public comments on a draft Environmental Impact Statement for a gas pipeline expansion in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Some critics of the project say the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has not properly considered all the effects of the proposal.
The Regional Energy Access Expansion, by the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, would add 22 miles of pipeline in Luzerne County and nearly 14 miles in Monroe County.
Jessica O'Neill, senior attorney for the group PennFuture, said the draft Environmental Impact Statement does not go far enough in discussing how additional pipelines would affect natural resources.
"This pipeline would cut across really sensitive, exceptional value waterways, and we don't think the draft EIS does enough to look at the cumulative impact of the cuts through these waterways," O'Neill explained. "There's endangered and protected species; there are a lot of people that rely upon the high-quality waterways for their living."
The public comment deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, and comments can be submitted online. A spokesperson for FERC said the commission will address issues raised in the comments and provide recommendations in a final Environmental Impact Statement in July.
O'Neill added it is important for Pennsylvania residents, especially from the affected counties, to make their views known. She pointed out they will have information unique to their communities the agencies involved might not know about.
"That's how we can make sure that even if these pipelines are built, that appropriate measures are put in place to protect waterways," O'Neill stressed. "And that the permits have appropriate protective requirements and conditions and mitigation requirements, to try to preserve our high-quality streams and wetlands."
Pennsylvania is the nation's second-largest natural gas producer. The proposed pipeline route also crosses habitat for threatened and endangered plant and animal species, including white-fringed orchid, Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, timber rattlesnake and bog turtle.
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