Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
THE Delaware Riverkeeper is running a scam on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). By all accounts it is a legal scam, but a scam nonetheless.
FERC has a process known as a motion to intervene. Individuals, towns and organizations with a vested, legitimate interest can file to “intervene” in a project application, like the PennEast Pipeline. PennEast recently filed their application, so those people who may be affected can file to intervene, offer comments to FERC and remain updated by FERC, to ensure FERC hears and addresses the information and concerns of people with a vested, legitimate interest.
Typically an intervenor might be a township where the pipeline is planned to run, or perhaps a farmer with a concern that a pipeline will destroy a good hay field. If you just want to mouth off about fossil fuels and fracking and evil pipelines, send a comment to FERC. They get mountains of them for every project.
Here’s the scam: Riverkeeper recently ran “intervenor training” in an attempt to get as many people as possible to sign up as intervenors, including children, thereby overloading FERC’s ability to keep track of it all and respond to it all, slowing down the approval process for PennEast. As a fringe benefit, the more intervenors who register, the more the media makes a big deal out of it. It’s all a scam. It’s a setup. And we expose it below.
MDN is blessed to have sources that supply us with inside intelligence. They’re on the email lists of groups like Delaware Riverkeeper. Below is a forwarded email we received that was sent by Riverkeeper’s director Maya van Rossum in early October:
Sent: Sunday, October 04, 2015 8:15 PM
To: Maya van Rossum
Subject: Handouts and Call-In Information for Intervenor Training, 10/5
Thank you for signing up to learn about the FERC Intervenor process – how to accomplish it and why you would want to pursue it.
Attached are the materials that will be referred to in our training. One file is a self-extracting zip file because it is quite large. Please let us know if you have any difficulty opening it and we can send the original version.
The evening of the training please try to dial in by 6:25 so we can get started right at 6:30. We would like to end the session promptly at 7:30.
Dial in Info:
Dial in information: 1 800 791 2345
Participant code: 71376#
You do not need to log in to any website, simply refer to the handout attached to this email.
Additionally, we are not going to have live Q&A, we are asking that questions be submitted prior to, or during, the presentations via email to: email@example.com & to firstname.lastname@example.org (both on this email so all you have to do is a reply to all with your questions).
Please put “Question” in the subject line so we can ensure no questions are missed. This will ensure we are able to handle all questions in an orderly fashion. We will be combining like questions as appropriate to make sure all topics get covered.
Speakers will include:
Moderator: Karen Feridun, Founder Berks Gas Truth Presenter: Lynda Farrell, Founder Pipeline Safety Coalition Presenter: Aaron Stemplewicz, Attorney for Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Also on the line will be Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper to assist in answering questions that arise.
Maya K. van Rossum
the Delaware Riverkeeper
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
925 Canal Street, Suite 3701, Bristol, PA 19007
215 369 1188 ext 102
Blogging at www.delawarerivervoice.blogspot.com
We have to laugh our considerable rear-end off. We’ve made fun of van Rossum by calling her THE Delaware Riverkeeper for the past couple of years. Notice her own signature block. That’s what she calls herself! We’re not making this up! What arrogance.
We have embedded the two files (below) that were attached to the email–a step by step “how to” to register as an intervenor.
Someone on “our” side supplied the following two questions to THE Delaware Riverkeeper to be answered during the training:
1) What can we do we do to take maximum advantage of requests to FERC for more time so as to delay projects as much as possible? What’s the best way to do this to get as much delay as possible?
2) It would seem one of the purposes of intervening is to gain news coverage and media attention for our cause, which might require doing something dramatic. How far should we go with that sort of thing? What can we do to grab attention without being dismissed or ignored?
As you’ll see below, both questions were addressed during the training session.
Someone from our side listened in on the intervenor training. This is their report:
Basically they went over the intervenor game plan exactly as the attachments were laid out. Q and A was a little more entertaining. Bottom line, they are going to get as many people as they can to sign up as “intervenors”. This also includes their own children who will be signed up individually by their parents. They want adults to file “on behalf of minors”.
Maya is recruiting the Lenni-Lenape and Ranapa Indian Chiefs as well.
…you should take pride in knowing Maya loved the questions, “Thank you to whomever submitted.” As far as her replies:
- The first question she answered with get as involved with and recruit as many people as possible. The more people involved that submit questions, etc. the longer they will need to go through all the submittals. They did this with Williams Transco.
- The second question was answered with the best thing to do is intervene. The only way to get coverage is with sheer numbers. They plan on getting this “intervenor status” to go viral.
I have to say it is amazing to hear how these people organize. Saul Alinsky tactics through and through.
Notice that Maya said the best way to get media attention is with “sheer numbers.” Here’s proof that she’s right, and that their intervenor scam is working (in the sense that the media is noticing):
As the deadline approaches, more interveners are signing up with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to keep up with the proposed PennEast pipeline project.
As of Monday, there were approximately 1,022 interveners, including the Plains Township commissioners and the head of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. More local people and officials plan to file by Thursday, the deadline to comment or intervene.
PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC filed its application with FERC on Sept. 24 to construct a $1 billion, 114-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline that would start at the Transco interstate pipeline in Dallas Township and run through Luzerne, Carbon, Northampton, Bucks counties in Pennsylvania and Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey. The pipeline would supply natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to markets in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
FERC, which approves interstate pipeline projects, is accepting comments, which are noted for the record, and interventions. Interveners have legal standing in the case, meaning they can appeal decisions. They are also put on an email list to receive information as the case progresses.
Numerous local government entities, including the city of Easton, the municipal authority of the city of Bethlehem, and officials in Lower Saucon, Moore and Williams townships in Northampton County and Towamensing Township in Carbon County, as well as the New Jersey counties of Mercer and Huntington and several of their municipalities, have signed on as interveners.
Asked if Luzerne County planned to intervene, council vice president Edd Brominski said there hasn’t been any discussion on it.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said.
Residents approached Dallas Township officials with a petition, and Supervisor Elizabeth Martin said the township plans to intervene as a municipality, and the supervisors will also do so individually.
Plains Township officials were also approached by residents, many of whom are intervening themselves, concerned about the reroute through the township and possible effects on the pipeline from blasting at the Popple quarry.
Westminster Road resident Charles Adonizio said he did file, although it has not shown up in FERC’s system. He said concerned residents plan to form a group.
Last week, the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority intervened to keep track of the project and ensure pipeline construction would not affect the Wyoming Valley Levee System.
On Monday, Robert E. Hughes, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation signed up, for the same reason.
“The way I understood it, we have the option to intervene to receive information about the project,” he said. “It’s not to oppose the project. We want to keep an eye on it.”
Groups like Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation have legitimate reasons to file as an intervenor. Maya van Rossum and her posse of anti-fossil fuelers do not. We hope someone from FERC reads this and understands how they’re being played by THE Delaware Riverkeeper.