APRIL 2020 NEWSLETTER– April 26th, 2020


At the end of our recent monthly member meeting with Congressman Tom Malinowski, the Congressman sounded a very positive note. In the long fight against PennEast he stated, for the first time, we are in a much better position than they are. He cited:

  1. The NJ state win in the 3rd Circuit Court which said PennEast constitutionally does not have the right to claim eminent domain over NJ state owned land on the proposed route.
  2. The possibility that PennEast’s appeal of that case might not be accepted by the US Supreme Court. Even if it is accepted it could be rejected after being heard.
  3. The surprising fact that, for the first time, FERC pushed back on PennEast’s request for a two-phase project, instead of its typical rubber stamping of any PennEast request.
  4. Given the falling price of oil and gas, the natural gas distribution companies investing in PennEast will have trouble coming up with the funds to begin construction. 

Unfortunately, PennEast keeps trying and, as they have the FERC certificate, they can decide to come back sometime in the future if their current plans don’t work out.

Nonetheless, given the difficult times we are currently living through with COVID-19, we should celebrate our good fortune, while staying vigilant. There will be no April member meeting. The next member meeting will be held on May 27 (it may be virtual).

Once the Supreme Court decision on whether to take the 3rd Circuit Case is announced we will put out the word. In addition, HALT’s “due process” case before the US Circuit Court of Appeals in the DC Circuit against FERC is still on the docket awaiting action once steps are cleared with the status of the 3rd Circuit Case.

HALT is announcing a change in our Board of Trustees and a change in our Chairman. Gary Brackenridge of Delaware Township has recently been added to the HALT Board. 

Vince DiBianca, the current Board Chair, has asked to step down as Chairman. Vince founded HALT at the initial meeting at his home. Vince has worked tirelessly for the interests of the homeowners along the proposed PennEast route. Leading an all-volunteer, not for profit community organization against 5 multi-billion-dollar corporations is a challenging task. While HALT members attend our monthly meetings, read our newsletters and appreciate the organizations community and legal efforts, someone has to drive the organization on a regular basis. Vince has provided energy, intelligence, thoughtfulness, putting in long hours to serve our community. He’s worked with the CAP groups, Congressman Malinowski’s office and other environmental groups engaged in the fight against PennEast. We all owe him our gratitude.

Gary Brackenridge will be stepping up as the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Vince will serve on the Board as Chairman Emeritus, helping Gary and continuing to contribute as an active member.


(it may be virtual)

March 2020 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 3/30/2020

All local Carbon County governments along the pipeline route and the County government have signed on as intervenors except Kidder Township.  We were not able to get to a Kidder Twp. meeting prior to the deadline for signing up as an intervenor, but we were pleased that our local governments, the governments that are closest to the people, recognized that becoming an intervenor was the responsible course of action.

As announced in the February Report to stakeholders, PennEast has announced a Pennsylvania-only version of their pipeline but they continue to change the original pipeline route.  Amendments to the route were approved by FERC  (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) in February.  Save Carbon County has joined HALT (Homeowners Against Land Takings) to hire Attorney Anne Marie Garti to file for a rehearing on the amendment approvals.  We believe FERC is not allowed to amend the original certificated route while that certificate is under the jurisdiction of the D.C. Circuit Court. 

The PennEast application for the new Pennsylvania-only pipeline, called Phase I, included a request to adjust the capital costs of the pipeline to reflect current increased construction costs.  This is bad news for the end customers of this pipeline because they will pay for all construction costs plus up to a 14% “return on investment” (ROI).  These costs will be added to the monthly gas bills of customers for UGI in Pennsylvania and New Jersey Resources and Elizabethtown Gas in New Jersey.  Where else can a company obtain a 14% ROI in today’s economy? No wonder we have so many pipelines.

PennEast also asked FERC to approve a two-year extension for construction of the original pipeline project.  This project has been underway for five years and the company has already spent approximately half a billion dollars.  The project was originally to be operational by January of 2018; the extension gives them until January 2022.

Save Carbon County is a member of a regional and two-state effort to stop the PennEast/UGI pipeline.  Local information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop the Fracking Pipeline.” Regional Information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop PennEast Pipeline.”