Lancaster Against Pipelines Joins Indigenous Leaders in Denouncing Pipeline’s Path Through Native Burial Grounds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LOCATION: The Lancaster Stand
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 4 @ 10 AM
ADDRESS: 325 Conestoga Blvd ⚫ Conestoga PA 17516
For the past two years, county residents have joined indigenous leaders in condemning the plans of Transco/Williams to run the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline through confirmed Native American burial grounds and ancient archaeological sites located in southern Lancaster County. Whether filing comments on the FERC docket, or delivering statements at public hearings, or enduring arrest on the Brookfield property itself during pre-construction drilling, Native and non-Native persons alike have demanded that these sacred Susquehannock (Iroquoian) sites be honored.
Lancaster Against Pipelines invites you to a weekend campout at The Lancaster Stand from Friday, February 17 at 5pm until Sunday, February 19 at 5pm. Together we will prepare to stop construction of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline by building community around the new fire circle, practicing our nonviolence and action skills, and constructing needed camp infrastructure. This is a family friendly event, and all are welcome!
Press Release: Lancaster Stands Against Transco/Williams to Protect our Homes, Land, Heritage, and Future
FERC’s approval of the Atlantic Sunrise Project lays bare a rigged system of government that serves big business and billionaires at the expense of local communities and the environment. FERC’s decision came nearly two months early, at Transco/Williams’ request, despite incomplete surveys, missing mitigation plans, numerous pending lawsuits, and unprecedented community opposition.Read more
As 2017 begins, Lancaster Against Pipelines remains committed to shutting down the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.
As most of you know, FERC issued its FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) for the ASP one week ago. That document is basically an 800-page Horror Story that Williams has planned for Pennsylvania—and beyond. Here’s a brief sampling of how the ASP would put our land, water, wildlife, and personal safety at risk:
- 388 water body crossings
- 44 interior forests fragmented
- 3,700 acres of land, including dozens of preserved farms, violated
- 126 private wells within 150-ft of route
- 152 residential or commercial buildings within 50-ft of route
Additionally, a number of sacred Native American sites are targeted by the ASP. Right here in southern Lancaster County, along the Conestoga River, a federally recognized Susquehannock Indian village & cemetery (more than 1,000 years old) sits directly in the pipeline’s path.
Absurdly, FERC’s statement concludes that the ASP would have “less-than-significant” environmental, cultural, and social impacts.
Community Bonfire at THE STAND — Sunday, January 15 at 2 PM
FERC expects us to calmly accept these shocking risks. They think we should all be okay with an Oklahoma company sending explosive, poisonous, fracked gas to foreign markets through our rivers, farms, and playgrounds.
We have news for FERC: NOT A CHANCE!
In open defiance of the FEIS and Transco/Williams’ plans to poison our water, our land, and our children’s future, LAP is hosting a COMMUNITY BONFIRE & PLEDGE SIGNING EVENT on Sunday, January 15, at 2 PM.
 Publicly reject the findings of this FEIS—with the bonfire’s help :-).
 Sign a community pledge to fight the ASP with Civil Disobedience.
 Hold an open council meeting to plan a large-scale, prayer-and-action encampment on the grounds of The Stand to block ASP construction, if approved.
Everyone committed to fighting the ASP is welcome to this event!
LOCATION: STAND II
We’ll gather at LAP’s newly-built second STAND structure. This is located about ½ mile south of the original Stand. This new structure rests directly in the path of Williams’ alternate Conestoga River crossing. It’s located at the intersection of River Road, Conestoga Blvd, and Groff Avenue in Conestoga, PA.
- Parking is available at Safe Harbor Park, across the road from The Stand.
- GPS: 39.938298, -76.386099
WHAT TO BRING
- Friends, family & kids
- Warm clothing
- Outdoor chair
- Ideas for resistance
- Tent (if you plan to camp)
FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE
For more information, visit our “Stand With The Land” Facebook event.
For any adventurous souls wanting to camp overnight, bring a tent and we’ll carry the event into MLK Monday—a fitting way to celebrate the courageous, justice-seeking work of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Rain Date: Sunday, January 22 @ 2 PM (same location)
Please take a few minutes to review the below letter to Governor Tom Wolf and click here if you wish to add your name to the letter. Deadline for signing the letter is noon on Tuesday (November 8th).
Lancaster County community members dedicating “The Stand,” a blockade and encampment site to protect their land, water, and homes against the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (October 2016).
An Open Letter to Governor Tom Wolf
Dear Mr. Wolf,
The board of Lancaster Against Pipelines writes this letter as a public denunciation of your recent decision to provide $24 million in grant money to expedite gas pipeline projects in Pennsylvania. Even more shocking is the fact that your new Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) is funded by siphoning money out of the Alternative Energy Investment Act, which was established to support clean energy projects in PA.
Snatching what little money has been set aside for renewable energy projects, only to further subsidize dirty fossil fuel use in the form of fracked gas, is scandalous. It also represents a shocking level of tone-deafness to the voices of local communities throughout our state.
Here in Lancaster County, thousands of community members have spent the past three years working to derail the proposed Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline project. Why? Because the ASP would perpetuate the environmentally disastrous process of hydraulic fracturing, the poisonous and earthquake-causing process of wastewater disposal, the forced construction of pipelines through resistant communities, and the horrifying atmospheric impacts of methane leaks.
Mr. Wolf, local communities are not interested in exchanging the health and safety of our families, friends, and neighbors for corporate profits. Why are you?
Here’s one snapshot of how local communities are rejecting the fracked-gas industry in PA. Last month, 200 community members gathered on an Amish-operated farm in Lancaster County along the Conestoga River to openly reject the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline through our neighborhoods. Local families built a physical blockade on this farm, directly in the pipeline’s path. Plans are already in place to establish a long-term, large-scale encampment on this site if FERC foolishly approves the pipeline later this year.
Three candidates running for PA state office, from your own party, were there to support Lancaster County’s blockade of the ASP: Greg Paulson (Senate District 13), Dale Hamby (House District 100), and Nick Selch (House District 41). They clearly understand something you don’t—namely, that local communities in PA have rejected the backward looking, dystopian vision of another dirty fossil fuel industry that’s trading our health, safety, and future for short-term corporate profits.
Why aren’t you standing with us?
And Lancaster County is hardly alone in rejecting the gas industry. Citing our constitutional rights to clean air and clean water, municipalities all over PA have begun using local Rights Based Ordinances to shield themselves from unwanted gas industry harms. Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, West Homestead, and Stroudsburg—among others—have all passed fracking bans. State College and West Chester have not only banned fracking, but injection wells and new pipelines, too. Highland Township votes November 8 on whether to ban injection wells. Grant Township reinforced their ban on frack-waste injection wells by legalizing the right of residents to use non-violent direct action to enforce this ban if necessary.
Why are our local communities forced to pass such laws? It’s precisely due to actions like yours, Mr. Wolf, as our state and federal officials fail to protect us against massive, unwanted, industrial harms—most notably those coming from gas infrastructure projects.
Mr. Wolf: With PIPE, you’re not only failing to protect us. In truth, you are actively supporting the very harms we’re desperately working to stop. While local communities have been busy banning dirty gas practices in PA, you’ve been looting PA’s clean energy coffers to expand it! Whose interests are you protecting?
Nowhere has the fracking & pipeline industry’s true nature been more clearly exposed than at Standing Rock, North Dakota. The nation—indeed, the world—has watched in horror as elders and children, women and men have endured riot police, the National Guard, armored vehicles, helicopters, 24-hour surveillance, mace, rubber bullets, baton beatings, attack dogs, sound canons, strip searches, and mass arrests. Their crime? Peacefully protecting their own drinking water and sacred homeland from a pipeline they don’t need or want.
It’s time for our elected officials to stop protecting the industry, and to start protecting the people.
Mr. Wolf: While you pander to the industry ahead of Tuesday’s election, we’ll be here with our families in Lancaster County, fiercely fighting to protect what we love the most. The national tide has already turned. And, unless you change course, you’ll be left standing on the wrong side of history.
On behalf of our local communities & in passionate defense of our land, our water, and our children’s future:
The Board of Lancaster Against Pipelines
Lancaster County, PA
The Atlantic Sunrise Project (Williams/Transco) is proposed to bisect Lancaster County, and parts of 9 other counties in the Commonwealth, to carry hydraulically fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region to the eastern seaboard, most of it for export.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently issued the necessary 401 Water Quality Certificate for this project to move forward, posted on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) site April 12. Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP) is challenging this certificate in two ways.
First, LAP requested a petition of Review of an Agency Order on Thursday, May 4, with the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Second, LAP also filed a notice of appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board the same day.
LAP claims that the certificate violates the Clean Water Act.
Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution states that:
"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all of the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."
LAP is a 501c3 federal non-profit organization representing hundreds of residents who are directly affected by this destructive proposal. The members of LAP are committed to keeping the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline out of Lancaster County as it represents a massive violation of our communities, natural environment, and rights under the PA Constitution.
As you probably know, Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP) includes Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Greens; and we do not endorse any particular candidates or parties.
That said, we are overwhelmed and truly grateful when a presidential candidate chooses to stand with us in our fight to keep the Atlantic Sunrise Project out of our community. Malinda Clatterbuck of LAP gave an inspiring speech to the crowd of over 3,000 at a Millersville University presidential rally last night. Then US Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders had this to say: “While I am here in Pennsylvania, let me just mention to you that I am proud to join a grassroots coalition of local residents, business owners, farmers, and religious leaders in strong opposition to the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.”
LAP challenges all candidates and voters to reject the idea that fracking and pipelines are some kind of bridge to a more sustainable future at a time when climate change is at our door and fossil fuel extraction is a threat to our communities, our environment and precious water resources.
Thank you Senator Sanders for standing with the thousands of PA residents who are committed to keeping the Atlantic Sunrise Project out of our state!
Click here to view YouTube video of Millersville University Rally including Malinda Clatterbuck's speech and introduction.
Click here to read Lancaster Newspaper's online article regarding Senator Sanders' statement against the ASP.
A review of public documents
Review and Analysis by Marita Hines, Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP)
January 25, 2016
Williams Partners is proposing to build a large high-pressure pipeline, the Atlantic Sunrise project, the full length of Lancaster County, passing through farmlands, woodlands, and residential lots, a county that is historically and ecologically sensitive. Based on Williams' documents, the purpose of this project is to take the abundant gas from the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania and transport it to LNG export facilities, both at Cove Point, Maryland, and along the gulf coast.
Although FERC "collects" public comment and does facilitate some landowner issues in order to get through the approval process, the comments appear to be used for little else. No real measure of opposition is determined or considered for approval of the project which carries with it the power of eminent domain. These are the observations of our group. This analysis was submitted to FERC, challenging them to provide any evidence that other projects have been disapproved due to opposition or that this data is analyzed by FERC in any way. Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP) felt that the comments and other public information was worthy of analysis and set out to do just that.
Analysis of Letters to FERC:
All letters to FERC posted under project PF 14-8-000 (submitted under the FERC prefiling process) and CP 15-138-000 (submitted under the formal filing process) have been reviewed and categorized through January 17, 2016.
Information was extracted from each comment. some of the results are summarized in the tables below.
Level of Pipeline Support
FERC comments were reviewed in order to determine if submissions were in favor of the pipeline. The level of support for this project here in Lancaster County according to FERC comments is a paltry 1.6%, and 3.1% for all combined areas.
Note that only 2,396 of the comments provided ZIP Code/location information (41% of total comments) and 61% of those were from Lancaster County. In other words, Lancaster residents were most vocal and least supportive of the project.
Level of Pipeline Support in Impacted Area
The analysis assumes the "impacted" area to be the counties in which the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is proposed to be constructed. It finds that of the pro-pipeline comments where a ZIP Code/location was provided, only 43.3% were from the "impacted" area compared to 94.9% for opposition comments. This supports LAP's belief that pro-pipeline comments are largely from those employed by the gas industry or who have received grant monies.
FERC Comment Concerns
Top landowner concerns for the project overall and here in Lancaster County are related to the destruction and diminished use of their properties.
One of the reasons that LAP does not feel that this project should carry the power of eminent domain is that the natural gas is of no benefit to our local community or the state and, in fact, the project is counter to landowner's own use for their land, both business and personal. FERC should be required to clarify why it feels one private business' profits are more important than all others' needs for this land, including business needs.
Overall, commenters expressed concerns about natural resources, conservation land and safety.
Analysis of Opposition by Measuring Landowner Cooperation
The amount of opposition to this project here in Lancaster County is reflected in the comments. We also believe that the level of cooperation in the form of easement agreements and the "blockades" of landowners against this project is just as revealing.
Impact Measured by Landowner Agreements
More than 15 months ago, Williams Partners began making offers to landowners along the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline prior to their formal filing with FERC. A former FERC attorney, Carolyn Elefant, stated to a Lancaster Newspaper reporter for an article dated September 23, 2014, that what Williams was doing was standard business practice. "And is done for a reason", Elefant said. "Early property acquisition basically locks in the company's preferred route," she said, "and forecloses meaningful consideration of alternatives as required by National Environmental Policy Act." Elefant also stated in this article that "One of the criteria that FERC evaluates in determining whether to approve a project is impact to landowners. If landowners voluntarily agree to a negotiated easement, FERC will find that they are not adversely impacted".
It appears to our group that the numerous "alternatives" being proposed by Williams are really just a farce to make it look as if they are considerate of landowner concerns. We wish to be clear that our group does not believe it is in the best interest of our county or even our country to allow this pipeline through any route in order to export the natural gas for private profit. In fact, expert energy analyst Dennis Witmer recently presented to our group that the entire project is not economically feasible and would ultimately result in higher rates for ratepayers here in the US.
That said, we believe that the number of easements in place at this point after an aggressive 15-month campaign by Williams is telling. Our analysis required review of landowner easements for the Atlantic Sunrise Project. The easement agreements are publicly available via the Lancaster County website and include an agreed-to route across the landowners' properties. By mapping the individual plots with and without easements, we were able to determine that at the most 66.9% of landowners in Lancaster County are under agreement for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The non-easement properties were determined by analyzing the "gaps" in the route under agreement and using the least number of properties possible to close the gap.
In some areas of Lancaster County, the opposition by Landowners is very strong. Notice that through the town of Conestoga, only 27.8% of landowners have signed easements. As landowner cooperation is one of the criteria FERC uses for approval of the pipeline, this alone should cause them to reject the project outright.
This study was conducted to analyze the public records that have been generated during the permitting process for the Williams Pipeline Atlantic Sunrise project. While numerous paid advertisements purchased by the Gas Industry claim that this project has strong support, the public records reviewed in this study indicate very strong opposition.
In addition to the strong community opposition, LAP believes that Lancaster County is steep in historical significance that will be impacted by this pipeline. A recent newspaper article published by Lancaster Newspapers reported that 11 new archaeological sites have been registered with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission over the past year. All of these new sites, along with a 12th site registered in 1972, are along the proposed route of the pipeline.
These are just some of the many reasons LAP and its members have asked FERC to disapprove this project.
How Can You Get Involved in this Movement?
Author: Marita Hines
Marita Hines recently retired from her Financial Analyst position with US Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, is a resident of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and active member of Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP).
Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP) is a 501(c)3 federally recognized non-profit organization. It is a grassroots coalition of local residents, business owners, church communities, and non-profits committed to protecting our county against the proposed Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline. The permanent right of way for this unwanted line through Lancaster County targets more than 50 preserved farms, plows through more than 50 scenic waterways, permanently fragments our woods, severely limits how landowners may use their own land, lowers property values, and poses a perpetual threat of toxic leaks and explosions to county residents. We believe our community has an inherent right to say "NO" to large-scale industrial projects that exploit our land, endanger our families, and radically threaten our way of life. We believe that the federal government should not grant the power of eminent domain to a project designed largely to carry US energy overseas. It is our mission to challenge and overturn this broken system.
Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP) came out in force to show support for "Farmers, Not Fracking," a rally coordinated by the group Pennsylvanians Against Fracking. LAP was there to support our farmers who are being asked to sacrifice their business priorities for that of the private profits of Williams Partners. Williams Partners has applied to FERC to install a large 42" high pressure greenfield pipeline through rich farmland, and land of historical and archaeological significance. The purpose of the pipeline is largely for export of Marcellus fracked gas to international markets and of little benefit to people in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, or even the nation.
Farmers in Lancaster County confirm what experts say -- a natural gas pipeline impacts crop production for many years to come. Farmers and other land owners should not be asked to sacrifice their livelihoods.