The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Residents Fight Gas Company over Seized Property for Gas Pipeline
Residents are suing to halt tree-cutting along the route of a controversial gas pipeline through the Endless Mountains region of Northeast Pennsylvania. Represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, members of Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, and the Coalition for Responsible Growth and Resource Conservation filed an emergency motion this week challenging a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC denied an earlier motion for rehearing by the groups, prompting this week’s legal action. Feb. 16 is the deadline for FERC to respond to the groups’ motion.
FERC authorized Central New York Oil and Gas Company (CNYOG) to begin cutting trees before the company had fulfilled all necessary pre-construction requirements.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated the project would result in the destruction of more than 200,000 mature trees. The 39-mile industrial gas pipeline, which would tear up 600 acres of land and cross more than 100 waterways, has drawn criticism from EPA officials, 35 state representatives, and more than 22,000 members of the public.
The pipeline project cuts through land owned by more than 100 property owners. FERC granted CNYOG the power to seize private property for the pipeline on Nov. 14. Within a matter of days, the company began condemnation proceedings against nearly half of the property owners along the pipeline's route. View a map of the proposed pipeline route by clicking here.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg:
“We are seeing a very troubling pattern at work. At every turn, the Central New York Oil & Gas Company has pressured FERC regulators to fast-track this project. FERC is bowing to this pressure, even to the point of bending its own rules.
“We’ve been watching and we’ve seen property owners mistreated. We’ve seen the failure to disclose how dangerously close this pipeline runs to an elementary school. What we have not seen is the thorough review of this project’s environmental and public health impacts that the law clearly requires. This is why we are taking legal action. To remind regulators of their duty—to watch out for the people and places that will be impacted by this project.
“Furthermore, given the gas industry’s current financial woes, now is not the time to be rushing a project in a previously undeveloped area. A hastily approved and constructed pipeline is the last thing this region needs.”
For more information, click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.
The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.
By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia
In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."
Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.
Michigan prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against government officials involved in the Flint water crisis Thursday, citing concerns about the investigation they had inherited from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) appointed by former Attorney General Bill Schuette, CNN reported.