We understand that residents are concerned about the proposed PennEast Pipeline and about the prospect that the Pipeline might be routed through Solebury Township. Please be assured that the Township has been monitoring this situation closely. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), which has authority over the siting of intrastate natural gas pipelines, is in the process of reviewing PennEast’s proposal, along with the comments and objections of residents, community groups and some governmental bodies. At the same time, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), which has authority to issue certain permits associated with the proposal, has already issued a Water Quality Certification associated with the project.
At the present time, we do not believe that there is a significant risk that the proposed pipeline will be routed through Solebury Township. The proposal that PennEast submitted to both FERC and PADEP was for a path that did not cross through Solebury Township. As part of the review process, PennEast was advised to submit what is known as an “alternatives analysis.” An alternatives analysis is an exercise in which a project sponsor compares their proposal to other possible locations as a way to demonstrate that their proposed location will have the least environmental impact. It was during this alternative analysis that PennEast produced a map showing a potential route through more portions of Bucks County – including Central Bucks -- than reflected in their actual proposed route (which would cut through parts of Durham Township and Riegelsville Borough in Upper Bucks, but not Central Bucks). PennEast was not proposing this as a route. PennEast was showing this as an undesirable route that would have greater environmental impact. FERC has not expressed any preference for the alternative Bucks County route. Furthermore, PADEP, when it issued its Water Quality Certification, specifically identified the municipalities that the PennEast Pipeline would cross through, and it listed only Durham and Riegelsville in Bucks County.
While there does not appear to be a significant risk that the PennEast Pipeline will be approved for a route that passes through Solebury, we will continue to closely monitor the situation. The Township’s officials will continue to take every available opportunity to protect the public health and environment that we all cherish and on which we all depend.