Natural Gas Now
The Delaware Riverkeeper, dirty tricks arm of the William Penn Foundation, is at it yet again, with a trumped up accusations aimed at the PennEast Pipeline.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, as we’ve explained here many times, is nothing more than the dirty tricks arm of its principal funder, the William Penn Foundation, the money spewing (and tax-exempt) special interest vehicle employed by Philadelphia’s Haas family to peddle anti-fossil fuels propaganda. That’s where the money comes from and the Delaware Riverkeeper has been assigned the task of doing what it can to stop the PennEast and other pipeline projects that would provide much needed gas to New Jersey. Their latest dirty trick involves a patently ridiculous attempt to hype geotechnical investigations as some sort of environmental disaster. It’s not and this latest incident is the perfect illustration of the underhanded tactics of the Foundation.
This newest dirty trick involves a Delaware Riverkeeper attempt to portray some simple geotechnical investigations in advance of pipeline design as a rogue effort to start the PennEast pipeline without permits and ruin a pristine environment in the process. The basic facts are detailed in this news story from NJ.com which is entitled “PennEast accused of drilling without permits, fouling Holland pond” and includes the following video produced by the Delaware Riverkeeper (click to play):
The video is the typical hysteria we see so often from the Delaware Riverkeeper, complete, of course, with plenty of pugnacious pontifications by Maya van Rossum. It is accompanied, at the organization’s website, with a breathless recitation of what happened from their perspective, as if this were something on the order of Love Canal. Maya describes a freshwater pond she suggests was polluted – a “pristine pond along the Delaware River” – and attempts to create the specter of outrageous violations and environmental destruction. Nothing could be further from the truth as a little investigation quickly reveals.
I knew, reading the Delaware Riverkeeper account of the event, that something was awry when I noticed the address was “redacted for owner’s privacy.” Fortunately, the NJ.com article, though it served primarily as a mouthpiece for Maya, did include an address (82 Old River Road, Holland Township, Hunterdon County, NJ) so I decided to get an overview from Google Earth. This is what I found in the way of an aerial view from 2012:
And, here’s a closeup shot from another view:
As the photos illustrate, this is not some rural idyllic neighborhood or pristine environment. That factory is a Georgia-Pacific Corrugated Paper Group manufacturing facility. Moreover, see if you can find the “natural spring-fed pond in the floodway of the Delaware River” as the self-appointed Delaware Riverkeeper describes it. Having a hard time? Well, it appears to be just to the right (in the immediately above picture) of the red marker between the two “Old River Road” labels. It’s not a pond at all, but, rather, what most of us would describe as a mud hole or wetland. It’s next to an old house (barely visible) and is perhaps 50 feet in diameter. Here’s another closeup view, in fact:
The Delaware Riverkeeper is going apoplectic over this, of course, because to them it’s a gift to the harassment campaign the William Penn Foundation is financing them to conduct against the PennEast and other pipelines. Here are the facts, though:
- PennEast has permits for these geotechnical investigations.
- PennEast had the permission of the property owner.
- The water involved is freshwater and nothing new was introduced.
- The New Jersey DEP has not concluded anything was done improperly.
- Geotechnical investigations are necessarily done prior to filing a FERC application.
New Jersey DEP, in fact, is quoted in another much fairer story at NJ Spotlight as follows (emphasis added):
Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the DEP, said PennEast did obtain a permit for the operation in order to go deeper than 50 feet.
“The driller contacted the well-permitting program before proceeding and got the necessary permit,” Hajna said. “The driller has the permission of the property owner for the current activities.”
Hajna said the company obtained potable water from a local fire department ahead of time, casting doubt on DRN’s claims that the company was drawing water from the pond.
Take note of the DEP representative’s comment about the property owner giving permission for the testing. We can add that the “pond” was apparently his as well. Now, we know the reason the owner’s name wasn’t given. It had nothing to do with the Delaware Riverkeeper’s concern for his privacy. Rather, it was their desire no one know the property owner wasn’t complaining. That’s why Maya chose to do her video from the road with an anti-pipeline sign conveniently placed in view. She probably had no permission to be on the property.
The whole thing is a busybody exercise in harassment from beginning to end, part of a campaign against development and against fossil fuels, fueled itself by the millions of dollars from the Haas family chemical fortune. It’s how they work and it’s a disgusting corruption of the way energy policy should be made. Meanwhile, the Census indicates some 87% of Holland Township’s homes are heated with fossil fuels, not including those heating with electricity made from gas. Maybe, just maybe, these folks need that gas? It would certainly be nice to convert some of that 64% that uses fuel oil to cleaner natural gas, wouldn’t it? Think what that would do for the environment. But, the Delaware Riverkeeper isn’t concerned with that. That’s not what the William Penn Foundation is paying her to do, after all.