PennEast Drills Test Bores Along Towpath
October 15, 2015
From the Intelligencer
By Freda R. Savana, staff writer
PennEast Pipeline crews conducted several core drillings this week in the Durham Township section of the Delaware Canal State Park, prompting protests from pipeline opponents.
“The community, rightfully so, was alarmed by the intrusion into the park,” said Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper.
“It shows people what they’re in for, the intrusion into their lives and places,” should the approximately 108-mile natural gas pipeline go through, van Rossum said Thursday in a phone interview.
The drilling operations are part of a process required by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said Gretchen Leslie, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Because PennEast needs a right-of-way to cross state parkland, DCNR requires the pipeline company to conduct a geotechnical survey, Leslie said. The core drilling associated with the survey is done, she added.
Pat Kornick, a PennEast spokeswoman, said the company was authorized to conduct the drilling as part of the DCNR regulatory process.
Concerns that the survey violated Gov. Tom Wolf’s moratorium on gas drilling in state parks were unfounded, according to Leslie.
The moratorium, adopted in January, prohibits gas drilling but that does not apply to a pipeline, she said.
Durham manager Joe Kulick said the township recently filed to intervene in PennEast’s application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has authority over pipelines.
As an intervenor, the township is notified of all activity involving the pipeline. It can also address concerns directly to FERC.
Durham has asked the regulatory agency for a moratorium on all pipeline permits involving the township until PennEast addresses concerns about Durham’s limestone geology and a shooting range that is in proximity to the pipeline’s proposed route, said Kulick.
PennEast is comprised of AGL Resources, NJR Pipeline Co. PSE&G Power, South Jersey Industries, Spectra Energy Partners and UGI.
Plans call for pipeline construction, if approved, to begin the in spring of 2017.