DALLAS TOWNSHIP, Pa.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--A spokesman for an intervenor in the planned construction of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline says the pipeline company is going to extraordinary lengths to discredit the best environmental option for the controversial project.
“The company’s actions are completely disingenuous, and yet they continue.”
Attorney Carolyn Elefant, the spokesperson for intervenor Geraldine Nesbitt, says the pipeline owners, The Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) and Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ), have repeatedly attempted to modify the least destructive route to further promote the route they prefer despite its greater adverse environmental impact.
On three occasions in the past few months, Williams has proposed modifications to Alternative 12W, the route favored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, that would make the Nesbitt Alternative route favored by Williams appear less objectionable.
"And now, Williams is promoting yet another modification to Alternative 12W that has been publically noticed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as ‘Alt-12W Revised,’ without any meaningful supporting documentation,” Ms. Elefant said. “Instead, the public notice includes an insufficient ‘make-shift’ map along with a rudimentary environmental impacts table that will change once the applicant completes its field work and submits a supplement report.”
She added: “The applicant has conveniently arranged to submit this supplemental report well after the Corps’ commenting period has ended, thus precluding the public from reviewing and commenting on the actual environmental impacts that the Corps will be considering. This approach is completely inconsistent with the intent of meaningful public commenting under the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act.”
Ms. Elefant continued: “We hope that the Corps will not facilitate the applicant's attempts to undermine meaningful public commenting as it precludes the Corps having the accurate and complete information necessary to make an informed decision."
“Williams is going to extraordinary lengths to make it appear that the Alternative 12W route would do more environmental harm than the Nesbitt Alternative,” Ms. Elefant said. “The company’s actions are completely disingenuous, and yet they continue.”
Ms. Elefant added: "We urge the Corps of Engineers to follow the law and ensure appropriate opportunities for meaning public commenting on the actual information the Corps will be considering in its decision-making. We further urge the Corps to stop allowing the applicant to play games with the process and do the right thing by selecting the least environmentally and culturally damaging route, Alternative 12W. How many more modifications will the gas company attempt as a means of wearing down both the Corps and adversely affected landowners---it should be three strikes and you’re out.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in a letter dated February 15, 2017, said the Corps and the EPA had concluded that the evidence, public comments, and their observations in the pipeline case "indicate that the 12W alternative route would have less adverse impact on the aquatic ecosystem, and does not have other significant adverse environmental consequences,” in contrast to the Nesbitt Alternative promoted by Williams
“Specifically, Alternative 12W appears to result in fewer impacts to wetlands; result in less permanent conversion of forested and scrub wetlands to emergent wetlands; impacts wetlands and waters of lesser value (Alternative 12W impacts wetlands and waters that are degraded by ongoing human activity such as roadways, agricultural activities and commercial and residential impacts); has no impacts to Natural Heritage Areas; and impacts less forested and undisturbed vegetated buffers along streams and wetlands,” the letter stated.
"But Williams continues to promote misleading modifications to 12W in a cynical attempt to dissuade the Corps and the EPA from their original conclusions," Ms. Elefant said. "Williams just refuses to accept a simple fact – that 12W is the right choice, and the Nesbitt Alternative is the wrong choice.”
She added: “If Williams had made the right choice at the very beginning, this project could be under way now. But they continue to insist on doing things their way, in a less than straightforward way. It raises questions about what else they are not candid about. The Corps and the EPA should find out before letting this project go one step further."
About Geraldine Nesbitt
Geraldine Nesbitt is the owner of The Nesbitt Parcel in Dallas Township, PA. Ms. Nesbitt seeks to protect and preserve extraordinarily unique cultural resources on her property that are highly significant to several Federally Recognized Indian Tribes, which experts believe also qualify as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ms. Nesbitt is also seeking to protect significant environmental habitats on her property that experts state are comparable to, or exceed, with regard to biodiversity, any state park in Pennsylvania.
About The Nesbitt Parcel
The Nesbitt Parcel has been owned and conserved by the Nesbitt family for more than 120 years. Abram Nesbitt, a prominent businessman, and philanthropist who funded the area's first hospital in 1912 bought the first section of the current ownership in the 1890s. Eventually, 40 other parcels were purchased and added together to form the current Nesbitt Parcel. The Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) and Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) are enlarging and expanding the capacity of interstate pipelines through what is called the Atlantic Sunrise project. Williams Partners seeks eminent domain powers to impact the land owned by Ms. Nesbitt.
Note: The Nesbitt Parcel is private property and trespassers are subject
©Copyright 2017 by Geraldine Nesbitt. All rights reserved.