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Please, DEP, Don’t Enable Fractivist Pipeline Opponents!

shale gas outrages - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.



Although the response turned out favorable to the project, Pennsylvania DEP’s Atlantic Sunrise hearings were unnecessary concessions to pipeline opponents.

Something very interesting happened over the last two days as Pennsylvania DEP conducted four public hearings on the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. Our buddy Jim Willis, over at Marcellus Drilling News, noted yesterday the first two hearings put the fractivist shills at StateImpactPA into a total funk as project supporters swamped pipeline opponents. I attended the hearing in Bloomsburg last night to testify and saw the same thing. Atlantic Sunrise supporters, including labor, were organized and out in large numbers. We were in the game, the way it has to be played.

Still, it annoys me that DEP gave pipeline opponents for separate opportunities to vent over what are no more than technical decisions. That’s what I spoke about.

pipeline opponents

My testimony (which WBRE covered here) was intended as constructive criticism for a DEP that I assumed operated with good intentions. It was as follows:

I am a consulting planner with over 40 years of experience consulting with businesses and communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I also publish a blog supporting natural gas because I see what it’s done economically for our region and nation.

The Atlantic Sunrise permit applications under Chapters 102 and 105 should be approved by DEP for a very simple reason and it is that any DEP decision with respect to Chapters 102 and 105 should simply be a matter of technical compliance.

Both chapters consist of very specific objective criteria and standards which shouldn’t be influenced by public opinion as to anything but compliance with those criteria and standards.

Significantly in this regard, both chapters provide only that “the Department may, at its discretion, hold a public hearing.” Hearings aren’t mandatory because the subject is technical, not political. The regulations, moreover, do not provide for multiple hearings but, rather, “a” hearing on each application.

Whatever the real intentions of your agency, which I assume to be fair, what is going on in this case is little more than DEP providing a public ranting opportunity for those who wish to attack the applications, even though many more supporters appear to be coming out than pipeline opponents.

Still, as a supporter of the project there is very little for me to say other than to point out the Atlantic Sunrise project has been extensively reviewed by both FERC and DEP, and that the applications meet the Chapter 102 and 105 requirements.

Project opponents, though, will be here tonight and at three more completely unnecessary hearings to attack the project on everything imaginable having nothing whatsoever to do with Chapter 102 and 105 criteria. They will talk about their opposition to fossil fuels, their hatred for the oil and gas industry and their ideology, but very little about Chapter 102 having to do with erosion and sedimentation control or Chapter 105 having to do with dam safety and waterways management.

I urge DEP to simply follow its own rules. If it does so, there is no basis for anything but an approval of the Atlantic Sunrise project. The voluminous materials submitted to both FERC and DEP document compliance to the nth degree. I further urge DEP to stop enabling pipeline project opponents by conducting redundant public hearings that serve no purpose other than to allow those opponents to vent with a view toward getting media coverage of their antics. The regulations are straight-forward. Just enforce them and don’t playing fractivist games with pipeline opponents.


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9 thoughts on “Please, DEP, Don’t Enable Fractivist Pipeline Opponents!

  1. Well said Tom but please….without me calling these anti everything from showers and deodorant, to God and Country names (lol) add this, anything fossil fuel related in which a public hearing is offered, draws out the clowns like a moth to a headlight on a dark warm summer night. Nothing to say just a need for self patting and a check on their non value existence.

  2. Consider being ANY of the agencies dealing with anything related to natural gas right now. Processes generally include public input or comment right? There are dockets and transcripts and reports to produce involving consideration of the comments and input given right? Everything takes time, money and effort. What do antifracking pipeline activists do by and large? Take up enormous amounts of space, time and energy doing what? Mostly spewing nonsense, hysteria and often fabricated or false information. Having participated in two federal dockets with the antifracking movement, I have to give credit to any agency that is able to weed through all the nonsense, find real concerns and produce a proper assessment, permit etc.

  3. Having said what I did above, in both federal dockets I participated in, my own comments and input effected the federal agencies work, including the fact that the coast guard agreed with the data and facts I provided over liberty natural gas llc.

    I don’t think there is anything that can be done about how the antifracking movement chooses to behave in general or in dockets or at hearings etc. The people I met could not be convinced not to lie. Reporters and the public and elected officials should be made aware or that. It is hard for me to fathom how those working at the various agencies that have interacted with this movement don’t know this already. Ferc for example cannot miss this. If I see it having been in two dockets with the antifracking movement the agencies in those dockets and there were plenty whether state or federal have to have seen what I did.

  4. I think you are wrong. Both sides should be given ample opportunity to speak.Only then will we know who speaks truthfully. For example at this weeks Otsego County Solid Waste and Environmental Concerns committee it was reported that XNG trucks were traveling at 85 miles an hour through the village of Hartwick NY in the middle of the night. Good thing the public is allowed to speak at our meeting because quite frankly that person looked rather silly.

  5. http://waterkeeper.org/

    By the way, waterkeeper lists quite a few “partners” on their website. Patagonia I can say flat out doesnt give a whiff if they are promoting propaganda or lies as I have contacted them and they could care less. There are a number of other companies listed like Toyota etc who perhaps help to fund the antifracking pipeline resistance movement by partnering with waterkeeper.

  6. http://www.dailyprogress.com/opinion/opinion-letter-dominion-s-pipeline-needs-an-alternative/article_801e4d30-5073-11e7-b79a-f311f2960c65.html

    Oh here is a letter against a natural gas pipeline with the writer saying some of the usual stuff but the new thing in this letter is why not just use clean coal instead of the natrual gas? Indeed. This would work it seems for all those who believe climate change is a hoax, including people who regularly post and comment here as well as fractivists who say fracked gas is worse than coal for climate change anyway . Clearly this is an argument for a fossil fuel just not natrual gas so maybe Jim Willis or Paul dreisden or some folks will like that argument.

    Man do we live in interesting times or what?

    • Burning gas is sooooo much simpler than any solid fuel (clean or dirty coal, biomass, municipal waste), and makes less CO2 per unit of energy that I am dumbfounded anyone today would argue for burning coal, unless you simply don’t have gas as an option! That simplicity advantage holds true for everything from household to industrial scale.

      We have nearly come full cycle with predictions, from freezing earth to cooking earth, and now heading back again. It won’t be long before the benefits of increasing CO2 to growing food efficiently will be touted as a massive benefit of the industrial revolution!

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