(Wyomissing, Pa.) – The PennEast Pipeline Company LLC today filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a total of 33 route deviations in PennEast’s continued effort to reduce impacts on endangered species and wetlands, increase co-location with existing rights of way and address feedback from collaborative discussions with landowners and regulatory agencies.
Further minimizing environmental impacts, the route modifications avoid two federally threatened and endangered species habitat. Additional trenchless technologies will reduce environmental impacts and address stakeholder concerns. These deviations are important, because they reduce impacts and take into account stakeholder input, though from a project perspective, they do not materially affect the route since the changes occur either within the original survey corridor or do not impact any new landowners.
“We are continually reviewing the PennEast Pipeline Project, seeking ways to maximize benefits to the region by improving the route,” said Peter Terranova, chair of the PennEast board of managers. “The route changes filed today reflect the constructive feedback received from landowners, agencies and other stakeholders and demonstrate PennEast’s commitment to incorporating their input where safely and logistically feasible. These route modifications bring area families and businesses another step closer to receiving reduced energy costs that also will help advance the region’s economy.”
Of the recent route modifications, 26 are in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne, Carbon and Northampton counties. Examples include:
• In Luzerne County, PennEast, in conjunction with landowner consultation, is altering the Pipeline’s current route and relocating the proposed Auburn/Leidy/Transco Meter Station. The proposed Pipeline will now be co-located with a Williams-Transco pipeline, and the meter station will now be co-located with an existing UGI Utilities meter station.
• Also in Luzerne County, PennEast is working with what is known locally as Popple Quarry to re-route the Pipeline to avoid active quarry operations. The proposed location will co-locate the proposed Pipeline with a Pennsylvania Power & Light (PP&L) easement within the existing asphalt operation. This location will minimize impacts related to quarry operations as it will be outside the minimum distance Pennsylvania regulations require for the quarry operator to take special precautionary measures. It also will be well outside the range PennEast’s technical experts deem necessary to avoid adverse impacts on the Pipeline by quarry activities.
• Owners of the Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Carbon County are working with PennEast to align the Pipeline’s path with a different ski slope than the one originally designated. This deviation avoids a hang gliding area and further avoids existing underground infrastructure – without increasing the potential for adverse environmental impact – while still directly benefitting a local employer.
• In consultation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, in Carbon and Northampton counties, PennEast modified the crossing location of the Appalachian Scenic Trail to accommodate a trenchless crossing of the trail and the implied 400-foot buffer area surrounding the trail to avoid impacts to the trail’s scenic viewshed.
“From the Project’s outset in 2014, PennEast pledged to develop a route that would balance our desire to find the most direct path with a firm commitment to minimizing impact on the community and environment,” Terranova said. “The route revisions announced today reflect PennEast’s commitment to environmental stewardship, structural effectiveness and land-use efficiency. PennEast has collaborated closely with responsive landowners along the route, and this cooperation has enabled PennEast to better understand and take into consideration their concerns, the attributes of their properties and their plans for future development.”