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An Open Letter to PennEast Pipeline Opponents

A Note on Strategy

[Update below]

Friends – I previously wrote to suggest that your coalition focus on the only regulatory tool that can effectively win the battle and stop the pipeline.

That tool is the Clean Water Act “water quality certificate” issued by the NJ DEP.

I’ve urged you to focus on researching that tool and preparing a public campaign to pressure Gov. Christie to use his executive branch power to order DEP to deny the WQ certificate.

It is a long shot – and Christie is unlikely to veto the pipeline, but it lays the foundation for a lawsuit and holds the Governor accountable.

I’ve also spoken with many of you to advise that submission of comments to FERC is a waste of time, because FERC is captured by the energy industry and there is virtually no chance of FERC denying an approval of PennEast’s application.

Now that PennEast has formally submitted an application to FERC, the DEP has one year – 365 days – in which to approve or deny the Clean Water Act water quality certificate. The clock is running.

If DEP fails to act, the application is deemed approved.

So, it is critical now to shift to a focus on the WQ certificate – has PennEast submitted a WQ certification application to DEP? Have you filed OPRA’s for it yet?

When is the Trenton press conference to announce the campaign to target DEP, the WQ certificate and the Gov – much like coastal advocates successfully appealed to Christie to veto off shore LNG?

I thought there was some agreement on this strategy.

That’s what the folks in NY are focused on.

So, I am baffled to learn that today, just when the WQ certificate campaign should be kicking off, that NJCF and other groups held a press conference with NJ State legislators

Congresswoman Watson Coleman Joins with Local

Elected Officials to Defeat PennEast Pipeline

Lawmakers are joining the fight against plans to seize private property in order to build a natural gas pipeline through parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Bonnie Watson Coleman and Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman will be joined by other state and local elected officials in a bipartisan call for the denial of PennEast’s application to construct a pipeline through 118 miles that include preserved open space and farmland, private properties and 31 of the states cleanest and most ecologically significant streams. The route of the proposed pipeline would take it through the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain in Hopewell Township.

Coleman and Bateman are fine people, but the NJ Legislature has no effective power to block the pipeline.

What the hell are you doing?

I knew that Tom Gilbert of NJCF was in way over his head, but I know that you have competent scientific and legal advisors, so I’m starting to think you don’t even want to try to win.

To do that wil take a very heavy lift, targeting all you resources on the Gov. and DEP.

Best to start that effort NOW, not a legislative sideshow.

[Update – looks like NJCF and Hopewell friends are not the only ones in need of a targeted focused strategy – this event, held the next day, was in the right place but the message and the targets sound like a Pipeline Piñata (no mention of WQ certificate????)


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