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Most people by now have heard of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which crosses through Sioux tribal lands in North and South Dakota. The protests and the issues surrounding the pipeline have occupied increasing space even in the mainstream media. Yet, DAPL isn’t an isolated issue. There are pipeline projects going on across the country, many of which threaten the environment upon which they encroach.
In the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys there is the PennEast Pipeline.
According to the Concerned Citizens Against The Pipeline the pipeline would cross through 88 waterways, 44 wetlands, and 30 parks. 85% of the pipeline would cross through the Delaware Watershed.
Residents concerned about the environmental impact, which a pipeline will cause. They fear that such a project will hurt the habitat for many endangered species including bald eagles, ospreys, and wood turtles among other animals that call the watershed their home. Not to mention the risks it can cause to people living in the shadow of the pipeline.
“There’s no need for this pipeline, there’s no support for it and there’s certainly no one that is buying into PennEast’s insulting marketing.” said Edward J. Kelly in a letter to the editor of Central Jersey.com. But, there are a lot of terrified citizens, who are worried about our environment, homes, children’s schools, and communities; and the fact that, PennEast would be the highest pressure pipeline in the state of New Jersey, bringing along with it a larger blast zone, seriously endangering the many schools and homes it runs so close to.”
Recently there has been talk of changing the route of the pipeline. Even with the proposed route changes, New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel’s concerns aren’t change in the least.
“With PennEast Pipeline changing parts of the proposed route, all they are really doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This project is still a disaster because of the overall damage it will do to the environment and public safety.”
It Will Create Jobs and Lower Heating Costs
Proponents of the pipeline say that the price for natural gas went up last winter with the Polar Vortex and because of this there is a need. But critic say that the vortex was an anomaly and that those in favor are using the phenomena to push their agenda.
The PennEast Pipeline Website states that the pipeline will lower energy costs, provide upwards of 12,000 jobs, and let residents have more disposable income.
“The changing energy dynamic of the United States is really going to be a major force in our economic security and our lifestyle improvements this decade and the coming century” said Jim Benton at a meeting video featured on the pipeline’s home page.
Toby Bishop, VP of Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc. said that based on their study during the winter of 2013-2014 consumers would have saved money if the PennEast Pipeline was in service. “Upward of $890 million,” Bishop said in the same video featuring Benton.
So Who’s Right?
To be honest I don’t think it’s a simple question to answer. Lower energy costs are great, but at the expense of what? The environment, the health of millions of families?
What do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.