Pipeline problems persist;frustration mounts
Beecher says she is hearing the same thing from the Susquehanna and Wayne Conservation District staff who are inspecting the TGP 300-line project in their counties, where the work is much farther along, but that pipeline project timelines sometimes dictate construction practices that are in conflict with water resource protection.
Differing standards are another problem. Beecher points out that normal construction projects, such as highways, are required to minimize the extent of earth disturbance at any time. Grover agrees. Seventeen miles of open turf in Wayne County have also presented ongoing challenges. “With any other construction process, we demand stabilization in four days,” he said. “In the case of the pipelines, DEP allows 60 days
from opening to closing the earth disturbance sites.”
Beecher noted that the things her staff is seeing go wrong are day-to-day maintenance of BMPs given the overwhelming acreage involved. “We’re seeing the same mistakes over and over again. We’re really frustrated. I do not trust the contractor and the company to manage this project to protect the resources of Pike County.”
With the rising number of violations, Beecher’s concerns are growing. “It’s scary to watch how this whole thing is unfolding,” she said. “I believe it’s time for this company to get assessed a penalty. When things are going wrong, when we have this many pollution events documented, I think DEP should be penalizing them as they go, not waiting until the end.”
El Paso Corporation spokesperson Penny Paul responded, “We are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, as well as with other state and local agencies, to resolve outstanding issues related to construction of Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s 300 Line Project.”
The conservation districts plan to continue addressing their concerns in hopes of improving outcomes for the next TGP project coming to Pike and Wayne counties—the Northeast Upgrade—which is in the planning phase now.