Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pledge Your Protection to the River

As we head into the coming week of holidays we are thinking about family and friends, about the world we live in and how we can make it more loving and warm for all those we care about.  We also think beyond our homes to the world beyond, to those in need. 

This year, among those in need are those that are suffering from the ravages of shale gas, fracking and their drill sites, pipelines and compressors.  Also among those in need are the ones who have suffered the devastating storms, floods and more that are being brought with increased intensity and frequency because of the changing climates brought on by our intense use of fossil fuels.

So as you head into the week of holidays and thinking about others, please think about the steps you can take today to make a change for our energy future, to help us ward off the ravages of drilling, fracking and climate change. 

Please take a moment to take a pledge of resistance and protection for the Delaware River watershed and all the communities that live here, work here, recreate here and enjoy all we have to offer.

And take a moment to commit to demand a better energy future – one that lights and warms our present and future with greater energy efficiency and sustainability and rejects the ongoing and increasing use of fossil fuels.

You can make your pledge at

And don't forget to send in your one minute video of what you want to say to Governor Corbett so I can bring it to my meeting with him on January 8th and let him hear directly from you your thoughts on the issues of sustainable energy, drilling, fracking, pipelines and compressors.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Countdown To a Pipeline - First Success Giving More Time To Act

We may have a few more weeks to mobilize against the NorthEast Upgrade Project.  And so we have scheduled a second organizing and training for how to best and lawfully exercise our first amendment rights to help stop this project and speak for the River, trees, public lands and our communities. 

If you can, join us on December 29 and January 12.  To learn more and find out how to sign up:

Up until yesterday Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company has said only that tree clearing would begin for their Northeast Upgrade project at multiple locations starting the second day of the New Year -- January 2nd, 2013.  Yesterday we learned something  new.

Recall that the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Responsible Drilling Alliance filed an action challenging the PA permits issued for the project and also to ask for an emergency stay until our case could be heard.  Our emergency stay would prevent any tree clearing or felling in Pennsylvania until such time as our case was heard – because if the trees are allowed to be cut and/or cleared before we ever get to make our case, a major part of the damage will be irreparably done. 

Well, on December 20, the judge scheduled an emergency hearing to hear arguments on our request for that emergency stay.  While the judge did not grant us that request, a major underpinning of his decision was representations by the pipeline company that they would not begin tree felling or clearing before a hearing could be held and decided upon.  We believe it likely that this assertion of no action before a hearing could be held was part of TGPs strategy to undermine and defeat our request; and it worked.  But, while it may have defeated our request it did give us this extra time.

While TGP initially threw out the dates of January 13 or 14 to begin tree felling; because the hearing only got scheduled for January 14 thru 16 it is our belief that nothing should happen until the judge rules. So at a minimum, the 13th seems to be the earliest possible start date for cutting of the trees and we believe that actually it could even be later – unless of course we win which we certainly hope to do. 

The other thing we learned at the emergency hearing – well the other thing TGP said (yes a bit of sarcasm here) – is that they would not be mobilizing a lot of big equipment to do the tree felling, they would be invading our forests with armies of individuals carrying chain saws to cut the trees and then leave them where they fall until the spring when permits would allow them to pull the trees out using the big equipment.   
Let's Keep It this Way

So the countdown continues, but perhaps we have a bit more time now until we win.

Please consider coming to one of our trainings.

And if you live or recreate near the proposed pipeline and see any activity in the coming days and/or weeks please take photos and contact us immediately on our 1-800-8-DELAWARE pollution hotline number or by calling the Delaware Riverkeeper directly at 215 369 1188 ext 102 so we can take appropriate action.  And if you can post them to the facebook page too:  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

15 Days In Our Countdown To A Pipeline

It is just 15 days until January 2nd arrives, the date the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company plans to begin mobilization for the tree cutting and devastation that begins construction of its NorthEast Upgrade Project.  As of today TGP does not have all of the permits it needs for this project -- there are still outstanding permits on the New Jersey side and the Army Corps of Engineers has not given all of its approvals and of course our request for a rehearing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) remains outstanding -- but TGP is not to be deterred and still plans to begin its mobilization and project come the second day of the new year.

What it is now
In response to our request for a stay pending a hearing TGP told FERC:
"Intervenors have failed to establish that they will be irreparably harmed if a stay of construction of Tennessee’s Northeast Upgrade Project (“Northeast Upgrade” or “Project”) is not granted.  By contrast, Tennessee will suffer substantial harm..."

What it will become if TGP has its way
The deforestation of public and private lands, the denuding of banks along pristine streams and wetlands, removing trees that have taken generations to grow, and the exposure and devastating transformation of streams and wetlands that have taken many life times to evolve, is not an irreparable harm to TGP.  But a delay in the project that may cost them some money -- well that constitutes a harm they say should not be tolerated.  

I have one word to this perspective -- WARPED.  

Well maybe a few more: disgusting, selfish, greedy, an assault on past, present and future generations that cannot be tolerated.  

So what have I as the Delaware Riverkeeper done today to protect our streams, wetlands, forests, Rivers and communities?  

I have authorized and ordered my lawyers on staff to file a challenge to the Pennsylvania permits that were issued for this project along with a request that the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issue a stay pending the outcome of that legal proceeding.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has put together the case and filings that we know justify such a step by the EHB. The only question is whether they will take the steps necessary to act upon it.  To learn more about today's filing:

Also today the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and our colleagues at Energy Justice are announcing a training to take place on December 29 to learn about lawful nonviolent direct action and how citizens can effectively and lawfully exercise their first amendment rights in the face of the power that is a pipeline company.  This training will have the TGP NEUP as a focus, but by no means are the topics and skills learned there limited to use with the NEUP pipeline -- the skills and knowledge to be gained at the training can be used in the face of any environmental harm that is being unjustly inflicted upon a community.  So consider coming to the beautiful Upper Delaware to learn how you can help us keep our whole watershed beautiful, safe and protected for the benefit of us all.  To learn more and sign up:

And also today we invited any and all residents of Pennsylvania to share with us a one minute video that can be taken to my meeting with Governor Corbett in early January to bring to him the voices of the Commonwealth that have been impacted by drilling, pipelines, compressors and fracking and/or that have an opinion about the value of sustainable energy for fulfilling our present and future energy needs.  
To learn more and how your video could become part of this meeting with the Governor:

We are at 15 days and counting -- and remain undaunted in our efforts to protect Delaware River and all Pennsylvania and New Jersey communities from the needless devastation the TGP NEUP pipeline project and the shale gas drilling sites it services will bring.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Countdown To A Pipeline – And Stopping It

Posted December 14, 2012

While most communities in the country are counting down to their special holiday, I’m counting down to January 2nd, the day that the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company recently announced it was going to begin its rampage to cut through 450 acres of land and forest in the Delaware River watershed for a pipeline to carry unsustainable/dirty fracked shale gas.  The pipeline, tree cutting, stream gouging, and wetlands devastation will happen through mature forests, pristine streams, and beautiful residential communities that have been largely preserved – until now.

Which pipeline is this one?  Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s  NorthEast Upgrade Project (NEUP).  

(For a map of this and all pipeline projects proposed for our Watershed go to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network Website at:

We have 19 days to stop this fracked gas pipeline from cutting through healthy pristine habitat and rural communities that still thrive in PA and NJ– we have 19 days left to see if the decision-makers and the courts finally listen and respond to our legal challenges and concerns from the community. Of course the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is not sitting idly by while the countdown happens.  We are taking action.

Back in June we filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ask them to revisit key decisions on this pipeline – mainly the level of devastation it will bring to our watershed communities.  So far FERC has sat silent on that request.  In contrast, FERC has issued multiple responses to multiple requests put forth by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, and often within a matter of days.  And in fact, just today December 14, FERC granted TGP permission to move forward with the project and the advance tree cutting just 11 days after they asked for the permission; and yet FERC still has not responded to our request for a rehearing and it's been almost a full 6 months (169 days to be exact) since our legal request was filed on June 28.  FERC is leaving us no option but to go to the courts -- how is that for public service?

In August Delaware Riverkeeper Network had also filed a rehearing request with the Delaware River Basin Commission urging them to review the project – last week, as the result of a backroom deal and no public comment whatsoever they rejected that request, as well as a petition we submitted in September urging them to review all pipelines including the NEUP.  (videos of petition rejected: ; petition first submitted: )

For the past 17 months, Delaware Riverkeeper Network scientists and citizen monitors have been out in the field – documenting  harm and pollution inflicted by TGP’s past pipeline debacles.   See for example a story about their wetlands assaults: &

But that is not where we are stopping – not at all.  There is much more to come.

With 450 acres of land, 90 streams and 136 wetlands in our watershed alone on the chopping block, literally, we will not sit idly by and just let it happen.

So our holiday plans at the Delaware Riverkeeper Network include the joy of doing what is right and best for our communities, giving the River, the forests, the streams, wetlands and communities a voice against the Pipeline Goliath that is callously seeking to indelibly devastate them with its giant footprint of damage.

Stay tuned to see what we are up to and how you can help.

And consider setting aside December 29 to learn how you can exercise your first amendment rights and help us stand up to this pipeline Goliath if our legal attempts to stop it before then fail.  And then again we can gather in the New Year, January 2nd, and as countless others have done in years past, we can join together and in solidarity speak up against harmful projects fueling the fracked gas frenzy including the NorthEast Upgrade Pipeline Project.

We have 19 days!