Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Enviros doubt objectivity of PennEast Pipeline study firm

A group of environmentalists say the engineering firm preparing the environmental impact study for the proposed PennEast pipeline has a conflict of interests because the firm also does work for the natural gas industry.

Elizabeth Skrapits reports in Citizens Voice (Lebanon County, Pa):

"Pasadena, California-based Tetra Tech, which has branches all over the world — including an office in the Twin Stacks Center in Dallas — is performing the study required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on how the PennEast natural gas pipeline could affect the environment.

"The Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation wrote to U.S. Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman on March 24, asking him to investigate how Tetra Tech was selected to be consultant for the $1 billion project when the firm has financial and organizational conflicts.

"PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC, a joint venture among UGI Energy Services, AGL Resources, New Jersey Resources, Public Service Enterprise Group and South Jersey Industries, is looking to build the pipeline, which will run from Dallas Township to Mercer County, New Jersey and supply gas from Marcellus Shale wells to utilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

"The environmental groups contend that in the approximately 108-mile pipeline route, there are 39 parks, 88 waterways, 44 wetlands, and 33 farms and other open space areas.

“We believe that this pipeline violates the Clean Water Act and cannot meet the criteria for 404 permits because the amount of high quality streams, wetlands, and rivers it is crossing through,” the environmental organizations’ press release states."

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