DALLAS TOWNSHIP, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
A spokesman for an intervenor in the planned construction of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline applauded the pipeline company’s new proposal to shift a small segment of the pipeline route in a way that will significantly minimize environmental and cultural impacts and avoid conflicts with landowners.
When approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the latest proposed pipeline route would preserve a forested tract of land known as “The Nesbitt Parcel,” which experts have stated has the biodiversity equal to or exceeding any state park in Pennsylvania and has numerous cultural resources that would qualify it for a World Heritage Site. Williams’ decision is consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that the alternative route now known as Alternative 13 (formerly Alternative 12 West) is the least environmentally damaging practical alternative. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also stated the proposed alternative appears to be the least environmentally damaging option.
“This is an encouraging development,” Attorney Carolyn Elefant, the spokesperson for intervenor Geraldine Nesbitt, said in response to the latest request from the pipeline owners, The Williams Companies (WMB) and Williams Partners (WPZ) through its Transco subsidiary.
Transco filed documents late Wednesday with FERC that included “a variance request” to modify the “12E Nesbitt Alternative” in Luzerne and Wyoming counties so as to completely avoid the environmental and cultural treasures of “The Nesbitt Property.”
The “CPL North Alternative 13” request was accompanied by supplemental information and environmental surveys – “all cultural and environmental field surveys” necessary for FERC’s approval. Further, the Transco filing acknowledged that “the modified route has several environmental advantages” over its earlier proposals.
The modified route, which Transco labeled “CPL North Alternative 13,” has an additional advantage: “one hundred percent of the landowners affected by (it) have granted to Transco the right to construct, operate, and maintain the pipeline,” according to the Transco filing.
Ms. Elefant said, “Ms. Nesbitt has never been opposed to natural gas pipelines. Instead she has been advocating for environmentally and culturally appropriate siting of the Atlantic Sunrise Expansion pipeline. Ms. Nesbitt is encouraged that the pipeline is requesting this variance as it demonstrates the pipeline’s desire to do the right thing and is being conscious of the impacts to significantly unique environmental and cultural resources on her property. This is the best route for the pipeline to protect environmental and cultural resources as well for the rights of property owners.”
“We are hopeful that FERC will grant the variance without delay and that the U.S. Corps of Engineers will promptly move forward on the necessary permits for Alternative 13 so the project can be timely completed,” said Ms. Elefant. “While this has been a highly controversial and contentious project, the variance request filed by Williams demonstrates that the gas industry and the public can collaboratively work together to appropriately site pipelines. This is a win-win for everyone and again we applaud Williams’ variance request as an environmentally and socially conscious decision. Now it is up to FERC to be equally environmentally and socially conscious to do the right thing”
The pipeline developer asked FERC for its approval of this request for a variance by April 28, 2017.
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 (WMB) and Williams Partners (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 to prosecution.
©Copyright 2017 by Geraldine Nesbitt. All rights reserved.