Federal Regulators Say PennEast Pipeline Would Have No Significant Environmental Impact
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the PennEast Pipeline Project and it finds that any environmental impact of the proposed pipeline would be “less-than-significant” based on its review of the project.
Of course, this latest conclusion is just one more blow to the credibility of extreme anti-fracking activist groups aligned with “Keep It In The Ground” who have been actively targeting the FERC process in their bid to end all fossil fuel development.
The PennEast Pipeline would run mostly underground from northeastern Pennsylvania to a connection terminal in Mercer County, New Jersey, fulfilling what the DEIS says is a lack of “capacity for existing pipeline systems to transport the required volumes of natural gas.” As energy demands in the region increase, the PennEast Pipeline would:
“Have an estimated $1.6 billion positive economic impact during design and construction alone, supporting approximately 12,160 jobs and an associated $740 million in wages according to a separate study by Econsult Solutions.”
As part of the application process, the project is reviewed by FERC to evaluate its environmental impact. The DEIS released on July 22nd not only found that the proposed pipeline would not have any significant environmental impact, but would also “contribute to a cumulative improvement in regional air quality” by increasing the region’s ability to use more natural gas.
A spokesperson for PennEast hailed the progress in the federal approval progress as a “major step forward,” saying:
“Today’s announcement by FERC is another major step forward in the review of the PennEast
Pipeline Project and the goal to safely deliver clean, American-made energy…Since its August 2014 inception, PennEast has held more than 250 meetings with landowners, residents and public officials….Our application before FERC reflects our strong commitment to constructing and operating the PennEast Pipeline in an environmentally sensitive manner while meeting or exceeding all federal safety standards.”
The PennEast Pipeline project is a much-needed effort to meet energy demands, and FERC’s announcement proves that the pipeline is a safe, and PennEast’s extensive plans to mitigate environmental impact would be effective. Public comment meetings on the DEIS will be held in August, followed by the FERC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement and a final decision in 2017.
And along with the added capacity for energy delivery, it is being reported that the project would come with substantial economic benefits for the region as well. As BusinessWire reports:
“Had the PennEast Pipeline been in service during the 2013-2014 winter, natural gas and electric consumers in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey would have saved more than $893 million in energy costs, according to an analysis by Concentric Energy Advisors. PennEast Pipeline would have an estimated $1.6 billion positive economic impact during design and construction alone, supporting approximately 12,160 jobs and an associated $740 million in wages according to a separate study by Econsult Solutions.”
The approval was also lauded by manufacturers who value the cost savings that come along with additional energy capacity. Also from BusinessWire:
“The manufacturing community applauds PennEast’s efforts to increase reliability of natural gas for local users,” said David Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. “New pipeline capacity like that of PennEast is the key to unlocking the competitive advantage of abundant Pennsylvania natural gas. A recent analysis found that shale gas development could provide U.S. manufacturers with cost savings of $22.3 billion in 2030 and $34.1 billion in 2040, but these savings are contingent on new pipelines like PennEast delivering affordable natural gas to users.”
As the PennEast Pipeline approval process moves forward, the benefits are becoming increasingly clear. Reliable and affordable energy, economic growth and all of the additional benefits that come with them are just a few of the reasons why this project is a win-win for the region.