Atlantic Sunrise Intervenor Says Pipeline Developer Seeks to Unlawfully Circumvent Due Process

Geraldine Nesbitt Protests Attempt to Jam Atlantic Sunrise Ruling onto FERC Agenda by February 3rd

DALLAS TOWNSHIP, Pa.--()--A spokesperson for an intervenor in the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline project said the developers are attempting to circumvent the federal review process and must be stopped immediately so regulators can conduct a thorough evaluation of the controversial project.

“And if the goal was to minimize impacts, an acceptable alternative route was available. As for the ‘critical need’ for the project, the natural gas to be transported by the pipeline is destined for East Asia, not for America.”

Attorney Carolyn Elefant, spokesperson for intervenor Geraldine Nesbitt, said a new demand by Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) and Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) act in the pipeline case by February 3rd is an attempt to sidestep due process in such cases posing risks to the environment and to historic cultural treasures in addition to abusive use of Federal eminent domain power.

Ms. Elefant urged the FERC Commissioners to summarily reject Williams’s demand and to thoroughly evaluate inaccurate claims made by Williams throughout the review process and to assess the extent to which FERC staff recommendations were based on those claims.

“Williams and the FERC Washington bureaucrats have selected the most environmentally and culturally destructive pipeline route through a portion of The Nesbitt Parcel,” Ms. Elefant said, referring to property that has been in Ms. Nesbitt’s family for generations.

“We do not oppose the pipeline. There is a suitable alternative that utilizes existing rights-of-ways, including one this gas pipeline company already owns,” Ms. Elefant said. “If the FERC staff had done its job properly and evaluated all the data submitted by all parties rather than just accept the claims made by Williams, the FERC Commissioners would have the information necessary to make an informed and appropriate decision in this case. That did not happen. And now Williams is trying to circumvent the review process with pressure with an extraordinary rush the Commissioners’ decision.”

Williams corporate officer Rory L. Miller, in a January 27, 2017, letter to FERC Acting Chairperson Cheryl A. LaFleur, urged the Commission to accelerate the certification of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project by February 3rd – less than a week away.

Not coincidentally, the day before Mr. Miller sent his letter, FERC Commissioner Norman Bay, one of just three current members of the Commission, announced he would resign effective February 3, even though his term does not end until 2018.

The final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the Atlantic Sunrise project was released by the FERC staff only one month ago on December 30, 2016, supporting the energy conglomerate’s natural gas pipeline developers route choice and denying Ms. Nesbitt an opportunity to respond to the last-minute changes Williams had made in its original proposal.

Even so, Mr. Miller, the Williams executive, claimed in his letter to the FERC chairperson that the pipeline expansion proposal had undergone “an extensive review” and had demonstrated “our collective efforts to design the Project in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts while fulfilling the critical need for the Project.”

Ms. Elefant countered that Williams and FERC’s staff circumvented the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) by disregarding facts about significant and irreplaceable cultural and environmental resources on The Nesbitt Parcel affected by the project.

“Williams and FERC utterly failed to sufficiently review the environmental and cultural factors that they are legally required to consider,” said Ms. Elefant. “And if the goal was to minimize impacts, an acceptable alternative route was available. As for the ‘critical need’ for the project, the natural gas to be transported by the pipeline is destined for East Asia, not for America.”

Williams and the FERC staff disregarded extensive data submitted by Ms. Nesbitt’s team of experts and ignored requests from federally recognized Native American tribes requests for on-site government-to-government consultation concerning the sacred cultural resources that would be damaged by the pipeline expansion. Williams’s proposal would destroy dozens of culturally significant stone features that are directly within the pipeline path accepted by the FERC staff and recommended to the Commissioners.

“Had they visited the site as they were urged to do by both Ms. Nesbitt and a Federally Recognized Tribe, FERC staff members could have seen with their own eyes the validity of the facts submitted on Ms. Nesbitt’s behalf,” Ms. Elefant said.

Ms. Nesbitt has never opposed the pipeline. Instead, she has appropriately advocated for a more suitable location for the pipeline. “Williams could be turning dirt now,” said Ms. Elefant. “Instead, Williams is essentially seeking relief from the FERC Commissioners to mitigate for its own incompetence.”

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 an 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 an 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 to prosecution.
©Copyright 2017 by Geraldine Nesbitt. All rights reserved.


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Release Summary

Atlantic Sunrise intervenor says pipeline developer seeks to unlawfully circumvent due process. Geraldine Nesbitt protests attempt to jam Atlantic Sunrise ruling onto FERC agenda by February 3rd.