PHILADELPHIA, PA - On the heels of a new report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expressing “significant concerns” about the proposed PennEast pipeline’s environmental impact, today a coalition of eight national and state organizations submitted comments signed by 8,467 individuals to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) opposing the project.
Eighty-five percent of the PennEast pipeline is slated to cut through the Delaware River watershed, and could affect the drinking water of approximately 8 million people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Under the Clean Water Act the DEP has the authority to analyze all proposed energy infrastructure to ensure Pennsylvania’s waterways are protected, and has twice asked for public comment on its water quality certification permitting process. National organizations CREDO, Daily Kos, and the League of Conservation Voters joined with state allies Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, PennFuture, and Sierra Club of Pennsylvania to mobilize their members during this latest public comment period.
“Today Pennsylvanians sent a clear message to the DEP: the PennEast pipeline puts our drinking water at risk,” said Josh McNeil, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of PA. “Millions of families count on water supplied by the Delaware River Basin for drinking, cooking, and bathing – and we’re counting on the DEP to deny permits to stop this dangerous project.”
“The priority for DEP should not be ensuring the issuance of permits for an unneeded pipeline but the protection of all the waterways that could be impacted by its construction, especially those that are drinking water sources,” said Steve Hvozdovich, Pennsylvania Campaigns Director, Clean Water Action.
“We’ve looked at the PennEast pipeline from many angles and believe PennEast has failed to show that its project will adequately protect our forests, streams, and rivers. We urge the DEP to listen to Pennsylvanians and use its authority to deny PennEast’s application for a water quality certification,” said Mike Helbing, staff attorney for PennFuture.
“If built, the Penn East Pipeline would destroy countless water bodies and threatened and endangered species’ habitat. The project proposal lacks crucial details necessary for making a permit decision for a project that would have such devastating impacts,” said Deirdre Lally, Pipeline Organizer with Clean Air Council. “In addition, the majority of landowners along the proposed right-of-way have rejected signing contracts for an easement on their property. For these reasons alone, DEP should deny the water permits so that the land and water can be preserved for future generations.”