Opponents to the 6.1-mile loop pipeline around Milford, which is being pursued by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) Company to deliver Marcellus gas to markets in New York and New Jersey, held a demonstration on Saturday, September 15. The protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations by residents and friends of the Cummins Hill Road community, where the pipe line will cut through the area.
Meanwhile, the Pike County Commissioners cancelled a scheduled emergency meeting for September 18 to discuss possible solutions to the TGP plan because many of the most important people did not accept the invitation. The commissioners, wanting to avoid residents being forced from their homes by an eminent domain action and to avoid unnecessary disturbance of the environment and private property, are looking for ways to circumvent the TGP loop.
The 14 residents who live in the path of the line have already been notified that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given TGP the power of eminent domain, which would force the residents to agree to accept market value for their property.
“We will not stand for the deception that is being thrown at us,” said Jolie DeFeis, the spokesperson for the group. “We are teaming up with our neighbors across the great Delaware River in New Jersey who are part of this ill-conceived and convoluted Loop 323 aimed at unnecessarily destroying our community.”
Automobiles decorated with signs that state the group’s opposition to the loop paraded through the Milford Borough streets, slowly following the car in front of them, and tying up traffic. When they exhausted all of the roads, they paraded back to Westfall and drove to the Kmart Shopping Center.
“Until someone proves to us that the existing easement cannot be used, we will continue our protest,” DeFeis said.
According to DeFeis, National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent John Donahue of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (DWGNRA) is single handedly stopping the gas company from using the existing right-of-way (ROW) that currently goes through the park. If the existing route were used, the gas company would not have to dig the 6.1-mile loop that would destroy the community on Cummins Hill Road, she said. However, TGP has not applied and seemingly is not intending to apply for an application to put the new 30-inch pipeline through the existing ROW, she said.
Based on a letter that Philadelphia based NPS Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach sent to PA Senator Pat Toomey, in response to his letter asking several questions, DeFeis said that it is not clear whether the NPS regional office is opposed to allowing TGP to use its existing ROW through the park. DeFeis claims that Reidenbach is not being truthful when he says that only Congress can allow a new pipeline through the existing line. She also claims that Reidenbach, in his letter to Toomey, says that NPS could not deny TGP use of its property rights without effectuating a constitutional “taking.”
Reidenbach answered this objection by saying that the NPS could impose conditions that are intended to preserve the park, which is NPS’s mandate.