Delaware Riverkeeper Scams FERC on PennEast Pipeline

NED Pipeline - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
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.

Delaware Riverkeeper

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.

Re Questions:
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: & to (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
Twitter: @DelRiverkeeper
Blogging at

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.

Delaware Riverkeeper

Maya K. van Rossum, THE Delaware Riverkeeper

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The materials used during the intervenor training:

Delaware Riverkeeper Legal Primer on Becoming an Intervenor in the PennEast Pipeline project from Marcellus Drilling News

For more great articles on the subject of natural gas development every single day, subscribe to Marcellus Drilling News using this convenient link.

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59 thoughts on “Delaware Riverkeeper Scams FERC on PennEast Pipeline

  1. Energy Grid-Nice n Square-Nice n Fare! Always a Backup!
    No cherry pickin paths of least financial resistence!
    As for threatening land owners with federal charges goes?
    Pure greed ,pure abuse!
    The only funny part of all this is the same bunch that stuck it to NY are the very same special interest group that are screwin Pa !And getting away with it!Elections cost big bucks these days!
    Too much money in transporting it.And importing it!
    It seems that the Feds auta start regulating this crap so as to protect consumers!
    Be American, Buy American energy!They can ship that job killing energy some where. else!

  2. To be clear I’m not talking about charging property owners who oppose it because it will affect their land or people who live near it because they fear a leak or explosion. They have legitimate concerns. I mean people who live miles away and say I will oppose it to slow down it’s progress.

  3. No one can be prevented from participating in a docket whether commenting or intervening. The organized groups can simply say their participation is in the public interest.

    If you asked me the problem is more with the press, politicians and the public than it is with any real gumming up of the docket by the numbers of interveners or the numbers of people who comment on nonsensical things. Though I’m sure that addressing all the questions in the docket does take more time for those preparing the EIS and doing the documentation than not having to answer 1000 nonsensical questions. The only thing that really slows anything down are legal challenges or permit refusals.

    The problem if you asked me is that the public, perhaps some politicians and obviously the press can’t figure out what the legitimate concerns are or aren’t or how to even participate in the process.

    The hearings are just for performances and opportunities to make puppets and t-shirts or to see your friends at this point. Here’s a picture of Ling Tsou holding up a veto port ambrose t-shirt. (Ling Tsou’s antifracking group, United for Action sent out the original Port Ambrose –its a secret export conspiracy notice.) The Port Ambrose hearing next Monday is just going to be an opportunity for Ling Tsou to wear a new outfit, take a bus ride with some friends and give a speech to some friends and probably get some applause. If the press shows up its a good time to get a quote in. If not Ling and friends can write up their own version of what happened at the meeting which will be picked up somewhere even if only social media.

    Obviously if you look at some pictures from United for Action you will regonize some people if you know the topic of fracking and hearings at all. From the NYC side for example Catherine Skopic. Ms Skopic testifies at everything. From the Spectra NYNJ project to Rockaway to Port Ambrose to Rev to DRBC pipeline meetings and so on. At this point the hearings are like family reunions. Other people might recognize Craig Stevens who of course I’ve seen at the pipeline hearing in Brooklyn I attended and of course who is also featured in a news article on the Port ambrose export conpiracy theory. How the reporters covering the hearings dont recognzie that these are all the same people? That I don’t get.

  4. It is a public process. One of the amazing privileges of being American. Penn East provides instructions for intervening and commenting, too. At the end of the day all of the arguments will be reviewed and processed to determine if the pipeline meets the criteria for ceasing property through eminent domain. Then an EIS will determine if the detrimental effects of installation are outweighed by need. Also it is important to note the comment period is still open.

      • The pipeline proposed route goes through taxpayer funded preserved farms and parks. Through municipal buildings! All of us have a right to oppose it on any way we can!! This is our state and our land. Public parks are not for profit companies to take and ruin for their financial gain! Aside from that, fracking is a dangerous pollution creating process that destroys communities, creates earthquakes and sinkholes. Do your research Tom. How are you financially connected??

        • So, it’s really about the fracking and not the pipeline, isn’t it?

          By the way, I’m happy to say I work with various landowners and industry groups. So what? I’m out in the open about it and my objectives. The Delaware Riverkeeper, a tool of wealthy special interests, is not.

          • “So, it’s really about the fracking and not the pipeline, isn’t it?”

            It’s about both. Do you have trouble holding two thoughts in your head at the same time, Tom?

          • Pbs did a great special on it and the devastation it causes. Fracking involves injecting chemicals into the ground to cause cracks and get the gas to rise so it can be collected. The polluted water leftovers are then disposed of if they can catch them. Usually the pollution ends up in the ground. The cracks turn to cavities which collapse to cause earthquakes and sinkholes.
            It’s also about keeping our preserved land preserved. No profit company has a right to take our land for their profits!

          • Jennifer,

            With all due respect, you are truly uninformed about the hydraulic fracturing process. Have you ever been to a fracking site? It would seem not.

  5. The SCAM is PennEast claiming that they want to supply NJ with low cost fuel when it is pretty obvious that they intend to export it. The SCAM is also trying to use eminent domain for “the public good” when it is only for corporate profit. And, research the history of a Riverkeeper. The SCAM is claiming that NJ and PA need this gas when the fact is the pipeline will produce far more than could possibly be used by NJ and PA, leaving a surplus for export.

    Also, traditionally, a riverkeeper has been a single person charged with ensuring that a waterway is maintained properly:

    “The origins of the Riverkeeper go back to England in the Middle Ages when villages would hire a private citizen to look after the trout streams, so that no one could abuse the waterways that were owned, utilized, and enjoyed by all of the people in the villages.”


    In this case and in modern times, it is also an organization.

    • Obvious to who? You? That kind of argument is pitiful. Deal in the facts. The Riverkeeper is nothing but a self-appointed chief of harassment with a goal of implementing a radical no-growth agenda. Don’t kid yourself.

          • The last time I checked the Delaware River doesn’t flow across the entire northeast US. It also doesn’t flow through Butler County, in Western PA, where the Riverkeepers are involved in a lawsuit against a drilling company.

          • Tom Shepstone-
            Your characterization of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is nothing but shameless, ultra-right wing blather, and couldn’t be further from the truth, (like all ultra-right wing blather).
            The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a cohesive group of intelligent, dedicated people who care deeply about the health of the Delaware River, (the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi), and the communities and natural resources surrounding it. They are dedicated to preserving and promoting clean water, clean air, healthy habitats, and the beauty of one of the greatest jewels of the northeast. The Delaware River supplies clean drinking water to New York City, Philadelphia, more than thirty other municipalities along the river, as well as much of Central New Jersey via the Delaware and Raritan Canal.
            The Delaware RiverKeeper Network has been fighting, and winning, battles for many, many years to protect the Delaware River and its tributaries from money-grubbing scourges such as yourself.

            Your criticisms of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network are nothing more than ignorant and shameless fear-mongering generalizations ala the likes of the Koch Brothers. Your arguments are rife with catch-phrases and knee-jerk producing references, citing names and political ideologies that are proven to frighten the feeble-minded. It’s not going to work.

          • No, the Delaware Riverkeeper is the tool of the Haas, Heinz, Rockefeller and Wallace families. Their funding stream is the only water they care about and they use to promote anti-growth and radical schemes. Check the 990 returns. It’s all there, fact after fact.

      • It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain and a mastery of fourth grade math to understand that the primary purpose of this pipeline is export. The natural gas glut in this area has sent natural gas prices plummeting through the floor, while prices overseas are easily 4-5 times higher. The industry is scrambling to build liquefaction plants and LNG tankers to transport Marcellus gas to foreign markets where the real demand and the real money is. Once the Marcellus gas enters the world market, domestic prices will sky rocket as they will now have to compete with overseas prices. Not only that, but the pipeline companies already have approvals to recoup the costs of building the pipelines from domestic rate payers via rate hikes right here at home.
        There is one massive LNG plant being re-tooled for export in Cove Point Maryland.
        What’s pitiful, Tom Shepstone is not only the shameless lies you spread, presumably with a straight face, but the smarmy arrogance you apply to response.
        You’re a liar, plain and simple, and a bad one at that.

        • You just proved my point Phineas. You have nothing but false assumptions, baseless assertions and nam-calling in your bag of tricks – no facts.

        • Do you mean export it from PA to the northeast ?? Are you against all exports or just natural gas ?? Do you support importing it from other countries ??

      • Tom-
        Continuity, please.

        “Obvious to who? You? That kind of argument is pitiful. Deal in the facts. The Riverkeeper is nothing but a self-appointed chief of harassment with a goal of implementing a radical no-growth agenda. Don’t kid yourself.”

        First you command “deal in facts”.
        Then you make a completely spurious assertion with no substantiation that “The Riverkeeper is nothing but a self-appointed chief of harassment with a goal of implementing a radical no-growth agenda.”

        You could use a little refresher on the definition of “fact”.

  6. If it was going through your backyard, you would intervene as I did! The groups are only helping to educate citizens to act that are involved who do not know how. There is no scam here!

    • The scam is bringing into the debate people are impacted in no way by the pipeline to try to kill it for ideological purposes.

      • All people who choose to intervene are impacted by this pipeline project which is not bringing the residents impacted any benefits. Making up lies will not change that. How much were you paid to write a bogus article?? This article is full of lies. No “children” registered to intervene. It’s a process of law. This pipeline is not going through our beautiful countryside of preserved farms!!

          • I live within 1.25 miles of the proposed pipeline and I use the park land that they are trying to take. I am within the blast zone. Good friends of mine live on the proposed route that is written to go right through their houses, septics, farm fields and barns. It’s proposed route would split their properties making them un-accessible. This route is unacceptable! Put it under the highways and leave the farms and homes alone!

          • A blast is going to go 1.25 miles? That’s ridiculous and there are existing pipelines near you that have been there for decades with no issues.

          • Tom Shepstone:

            “How close do you live to the pipeline, Jennifer?”

            In the interest of fairness, Tom, how close do you live to a 36″ 1500 psi natural gas pipeline, or a fracking well pad, a fracking fluid detention pond, or a compressor station?
            And while we’re at it, how much money do you make annually from the promotion of the natural gas industry? I know you’re proud of what you do, so you shouldn’t feel bad about sharing this information.

          • I live about one-fourth mile from the Tennessee Pipeline which includes two side by side big pipes. One of them has been there for decades and no one ever even thought about it until they built the new loop a few years ago when the construction activity gave a nice boost to our local economy. The pipeline has been a very good neighbor and, typically, when I go by it there are horses grazing over top of it. Zero impact on property values, the environment or anything else.

          • Many of us who do not live directly on top of the proposed route will still be in close proximity on a daily basis. I regularly paddle in the Delaware right where they propose to cross the river. I drive on several roads the pipeline is supposed to cross on a daily basis.
            Yes, there are existing pipelines in our town- thanks for the tip.
            None of them are 36″, 1550 psi class one natural gas transmission lines with no added oderant. But when this one gets nicked by a backhoe, damaged in a major flood or earthquake, we won’t really need an oder to tell us there’s a leak. The massive explosion and fireball will probably be all the alert we need.
            By the way, Tom Shepstone, did you know that the proposed pipeline is on top of a known fault line? Did you know that the Delaware River had 3 150 year floods in the last decade?
            This isn’t ideology; these are facts.
            And the fact that we are stake holders exercising our legal rights to intervene is not a scam; it’s the truth.

          • Don Roessler: do you really feel that asking leading one-line rhetorical questions is the most efficient and convincing way to press your case?

          • It’s a heck of a lot better than your screaming epithets, Phineas.

            And, by the way, why are you afraid to provide your real name, if you’re so confident in your arguments? I do. Don Roessler does. Why are you afraid? Why are you hiding behind the name of a guy who survived a crowbar through the head? Is that e-mail address you provided real or is that fake, too?

          • Tom-

            Those are not epithets, and I’m not screaming. One of us here is trying to have a conversation using facts. Hint: it’s not you.

            As to my name- it’s none of your business. But congratulations on your awesome Googling skills trying to stalk me.

          • Well, actually, it’s totally my business because you’re a guest on my blog and I make the rules. As a matter of fact, I’ve decided you’re a coward, as you’re unwilling to give your name, so I’m banning you. I don’t tolerate people who hide behind bushes and throw rocks. Goodbye.

      • Tom Shepstone-
        This is not a scam. This is empowerment of citizens and taxpayers who are being raped by the strong arm tactics of the petroleum industry in cahoots with parts of the federal government. One does not have to live within half a mile of the pipeline to be profoundly affected by it.
        Taxpayers have paid literally millions of dollars to preserve farmland, open fields, forests, wetlands, natural habitat, and clean water supplies. That makes us stakeholders. We will not benefit from this proposed pipeline one iota. We stand to lose a great deal.
        In terms you might actually be able to understand, property values in our area will take a major hit; not just those through which the pipeline travels, but in the entire area. Big Petro gets the profits; we get the shaft. Like I said, we’re getting raped.
        Our clean water supplies are directly threatened, not only from direct pollution into the major rivers, but silt and other pollution in smaller creeks and other tributaries. Most of us along the proposed route depend on wells for clean water. Conditions in many of our areas are favorable for arsenic poisoning of our wells. Ever try to sell a house with no water, Tom?

        • Total hyperbole. You’ve got major pipelines in that area for decades with no impact on property values. You’re crying wolf.

  7. I dare you to go to the docket and read the motions to intervene. They are all from residents impacted by the pipeline. If you actually go look rather than blindly pontificate….well, of course you won’t do that, might mess with your bias buzz. If you want to talk about a scam on the FERC docket, why don’t you look at the pre-printed “YES!” post cards submitted as comments to the docket by people that PennEast solicited through a bulk mailing to places that are many counties removed from the route; mostly from PennEast partner employees. You think they’re reasonable stakeholders? PennEast is now using that scam in a letter to townships impacted by the project touting those as evidence of positive comments on the docket for the project. Now that’s a scam

  8. Thank God for he Dealaware RiverKeeper Network and all others like them. Many of the people who have intervened on the this FERC docket are older, scared property owners who either do not have a computer or who own a computer and could not understand the FERC electronic website navigation. They are all very concerned about the highly toxic mobile form of arsenic that this pipeline project may cause to contaminate their well water, the streams, and river. PennEast has asked FERC to allow them to come into NJ entering under the DE River, plowing directly into the Piedmont Region. This is the arsenic hotspot of NJ. You don’t need surveys to understand this fact. PE (UGI specifically) is either really stupid, just really does not care or both. Just read the NJDEP comments on the docket CP15-558 from 10/28/2015, PE has done nothing to investigate the highly sensitive watershed they want to construct/destruct. At least the Delaware RiverKeeper Network is extremely competent….we CANNOT say that about PennEast LLC in any fashion.

  9. I agree with the author on one point: his “considerable rear end.” It must be huge in order to envelope his entire head.
    Want to give FERC some peace and quiet? Easy:
    Keep your pipeline out of my township and county and I promise not to intervene.

    Natural Gas NO.

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