November 2020 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 12/01/2020

The Trump administration is rushing forward on a roll back of bird protections.
The administration is proposing to limit regulation of industries that engage in
practices that kill migratory birds. Such practices include wind turbines that knock
birds from the air, electrocution of birds on power lines, and oil field waste pits
where birds die in toxic water. Existing regulations also ensure that large scale
tree cutting does not occur during the nesting season. The protections are
included in the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act which protects birds ranging from
hawks and eagles to seabirds, songbirds and sparrows. The proposed change
would allow harms to protected birds as long as the harm was not “intentional.”
Industry operations currently kill an estimated 450 million to 1.1 billion birds

Oil and gas companies, including Pennsylvania’s fracking companies, are
declaring bankruptcies at a pace not seen in years driven under by a pandemic
that has slashed worldwide demand and by competition from renewable energy
According to industry analysts, almost 250 oil and gas companies could
file for bankruptcy by the end of 2021 which is more than the previous five years
combined. As these companies face economic challenges they spend less on well
maintenance creating environmental consequences. Fracking sites often have
leaking tanks, pipelines and wells. With less money, these leaks go unaddressed.
Even worse, as companies go into bankruptcy, they simply walk away and leave
well sites abandoned. These orphan wells continue to damage the environment
by leaking methane which can warm the planet 80 times as much as carbon
dioxide when measured over a 20-year period. The cost to plug a typical fracking
well is approximately $300,000. States typically require a bond to ensure that
wells are capped and well sites are cleaned up. Pennsylvania only requires a bond
of $2,500 for each well. Pennsylvania requires unused wells to be plugged but
companies can often avoid the expense by selling off the well to smaller
companies or by accounting work arounds. North Dakota has gone from zero to
336 orphan wells in just the last two months. Pennsylvania, which is second only
to Texas in fracking production, will undoubtedly be hard hit, leaving taxpayers to
fund the clean-up.

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.”

December HALT Update – December 2nd, 2020


We hope your Thanksgiving was relaxing and enjoyable and you are keeping safe and healthy.

Our December Member’s Meeting will be held Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm. This virtual meeting will focus on a few updates including DRBC, NJR public comments, SCOTUS, and a look ahead to 2021.

There are 2 ways to join the meeting.

  • Phone: Dial: +1 646 876 9923 ID: 89819213090#
  • Devices with camera and microphone (Laptop, smart phone, iPad, Chromebook, etc.) Depending on your device, you will need to download the zoom application (for free) prior to the meeting. Make sure that your camera and microphone are turned on in the zoom application. Once the zoom application is downloaded to join the meeting click on the link below.

In order to allow the meeting to start on time, we suggest that if you haven’t used zoom before that you download the app Wednesday morning. If you encounter any problems, this will give enough time to work through them. If you need assistance call HALT @ 609-483-5530.

Secondly, we have been advised by our friends at NJCF that the DRBC is now reviewing the PennEast application. It is time to yet again send more comments to the DRBC. We have included the instructions and draft language below for your convenience.

DRBC Comment instructions:


While the formal comment period is not yet open, we are requesting that you submit written comments to urging them to reject PennEast’s application. There is no deadline at present. The DRBC invites comments on matters not yet scheduled on their docket so let’s keep up the momentum and provide them!

WHAT TO SAY : Below are samples of comments made at the last DRBC meeting. Feel free to copy all or parts of and use as your own. You can incorporate the comments into one email but the more comments you send the better! Also, additional topics to comment on can be found on Mike Spille’s website:

Comment 1

PennEast has repeatedly disregarded the Commission’s authority. First, PennEast withdrew their previous application and asserted that the Commission did not have jurisdiction over Phase I of the new project they’ve submitted to FERC. When the Commission appropriately corrected PennEast on this, PennEast said they would “voluntarily” submit an application if the Commission agreed to review it on their arbitrary and overly aggressive timeline.

PennEast has blatantly attempted to skirt the Commission’s review by arguing that their project doesn’t constitute a project, and by playing a shell game in an effort to make it appear that they don’t meet the commission’s thresholds. To the Commission’s credit you have firmly and appropriately rejected these hollow claims.

I urge you to reject PennEast’s application without prejudice.

Comment 2

Whatever project PennEast asks FERC to certificate must also be reviewed by the Commission. PennEast has asked FERC to certificate building the entire pipeline in two phases. Yet, PennEast has only submitted an application to the commission for Phase I. They can’t have it both ways and submit different versions of the project to multiple agencies as it suits their needs.

The Commission must demand that PennEast submit an application for the entire route so that the full impacts of the project to the DRBC can be evaluated.

By submitting a Phase I only, PennEast is attempting to segment the Commissions Review and artificially minimize the impact of the project to the Basin’s water resources.

For Example, in their application to the Commission, PennEast States that Phase I will impact 17.3 acres of wetland within 30’ of the maintained row, pointing out that this falls below one of the Commission’s thresholds of 25 acres of wetlands impacted. However, if PennEast were to submit both Phases, the project would clearly exceed this threshold, as Phase II would impact an additional 19 acres of wetland in New Jersey.

Considering one half at a time of a two-phase project would conceal the true and cumulative impact of a project that will have significant and unacceptable impacts to the water resources that you are charged with protecting.

Although Phase I would still fall under the commission’s review, I urge you to require that PennEast submit all necessary information for Phase II of the project so the Commission reviews the same project that is currently before FERC, and fully evaluates the impacts to the Delaware River Basin.

Looking forward to seeing you (virtually) on Wednesday, December 9 @ 7pm