Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
The 2nd FERC Hearing for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline was dominate with supporters of the project who spoke of its many benefits.
The silent pipeline-supporting majority became more vocal last night at a second hearing in as many days for the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. Monday night’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) public hearing was a circus-like freak show, complete with one crazy wearing a cape like he’s Superman. In contrast, last night’s FERC hearing at Lebanon Valley College in Annville was dominated by solid, clear-thinking residents who support the pipeline and the benefits it will bring to the community. Oh there were a few crazies present, but nothing like the night before.
[W]here Monday’s meeting at Manheim Township High School was dominated by vocal opponents, many heavily critical of FERC’s environmental assessment, Tuesday’s meeting at Lebanon Valley College here was more civil, and front-loaded with supporters who spoke of the anticipated economic advantages that such a project could bring.
“It’s the right thing to do. It [the natural gas] is right here,” said Mark Thomas, mayor of nearby Cornwall Borough.
“Economics-wise you can’t argue with the numbers.”
Those numbers, as presented by pipeline supporters with labor unions and energy companies Tuesday, include 2,300 new jobs in 10 Pennsylvania counties during the construction phase, and 6,000 new jobs in supporting and ancillary industries.
[M]ayor Thomas maintained that a “silent majority” of residents actually support the Atlantic Sunrise, despite an opposing vocal “minority’s” visible presence at events like these.
“There’s a very small pocket of anti-fracking, anti-gas, anti-American people unfortunately, and the true heart of America doesn’t come out and yell and scream and try to create havoc, and I do believe the other side does,” Thomas said before the meeting.
“It’s getting to the point that I have to leave work early and wait in a line to speak for the average person. … I do not believe the opposition represents the average person.”
In addressing Tuesday’s hearing, Thomas touted the economic and national security benefits of US energy independence, the same he says is dependent on pipeline projects like the Atlantic Sunrise becoming a reality.
He was joined by Douglass Henry, president and CEO of Henry Molded Products in Lebanon, who in a written statement called new pipelines and the utilization of American produced natural gas “The most promising route to a goal of energy, security and prosperity.”
David N. Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, a trade group, said 25 to 30 percent of Marcellus Shale wells today lack “pipeline takeaway capacity.”
Taylor said more natural gas flowing to manufacturers and businesses in Pennsylvania would be a good thing, also linking new pipeline infrastructure and capacity with lower energy costs for American consumers. Opponents argue that the pipelines are more likely to ship that gas overseas to markets there, with American energy consumption continuing to decline.
One blithering idiot at the hearing last night compared the pipeline to the Islamic State, ISIS:
But after years spent attempting to convince regulators of this, opponents of the Atlantic Sunrise sounded disillusioned Tuesday as they expressed little faith in their ability to sway government agencies like FERC before the project wins final approval.
“FERC fully intends to approve this project,” Mike Schroeder of the Lebanon Pipeline Awareness group said.
“FERC doesn’t care what citizens say at these meetings, it is the illusion of listening.”
Another opponent, equating the pipeline project with terrorism, called FERC her last line of defense, saying “This pipeline is like ISIS (the Islamic State). We live in fear that we cannot protect out families or residents. … We ask FERC to defend our way of life.”
FERC, to their credit, told the crowd before the meeting started that FERC would not tolerate the crap anti-drillers like to sling:
Before the start of Tuesday’s hearing, Joanne Wachholder, an environmental project manager with FERC who led both hearings, said in no uncertain terms that disruptions would not be tolerated again.
“I understand this is a sensitive subject,” Wachholder said of the pipeline, before adding that interruptions would result in evictions or the hearing being cancelled.
Another anti-driller said his side just can’t help themselves, they just HAVE to behave like bullies:
Tim Spiece of Martic Township in Lancaster County was one of Monday’s “disrupters.” He responded to Wachholder and others critical of the pipeline opponents’ actions by saying they’ve been forced to adopt such tactics by the circumstances.
“I have better things to do than make your life miserable and than to attend meeting after meeting to defend my home and to do what’s right,” Spiece said.
We applaud FERC for getting tough with the crazies. We also applaud supporters for showing up in force–so FERC knows most people DO support this pipeline, which leads us to something else; that now is the time to roar and let the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) know that you support the Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. So, please sign this letter to FERC expressing your support during the public comment period of the DEIS review (by June 27th).