LAP Community News Issue #2

LAP COMMUNITY NEWS

E-Updates from Lancaster Against Pipelines

LCN Issue #2: February 2016

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New Video: Lancaster Photographer Captures Tragedy of Rock Springs Pipeline 

Bob Lowing, retired Millersville University professor & documentary photographer, has produced a 4-minute video exposing the myriad of harms that Williams’s recent construction of the Rock Springs pipeline has already inflicted on southern Lancaster County. The brief video, provocatively titled This Is Not a Pipeline, features eye-opening footage of each phase of the construction process, and the toll is has taken on our local waterways, agricultural lands, forests, and private homeowners. These stunning, painful images can’t help but inspire outrage—and action. View the video below:

 

The “Protect PA Quilt Project” Reaches the 50-ft Mark 

Over the past six months, hundreds of local residents have expressed their opposition to the ASP in a distinctly Lancastrian way—by crafting colorful quilt squares to make a giant, beautiful statement of county pride. Some squares are masterful works of art; others utilize humor & hilarious word play to make a point; some are fierce challenges to Williams executives for daring to exploit Lancaster’s rich heritage. Taken together, these squares have been assembled by talented quilt makers into a massive quilt that now stretches 50-ft. This happens to be the exact width of the permanent right-of-way Williams hopes to steal from farmers and landowners through 35-miles of our county. Keep your eyes open for upcoming news coverage of this important milestone in the Protect PA Quilt Project!

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Atlantic Sunrise Investors Jittery Amid Williams ’s Financial Woes

In Fall 2015, Energy Transfer Equity agreed to buy Williams Gas in a deal that would have created the largest pipeline operator in the country. Today, that deal appears to be falling apart. 

As reported this past week in the New York Times: “Shares of both companies have plummeted more than 60 percent and shed a combined $37 billion market value, partly in response to the huge decline in energy prices, but also because of the numerous concerns investors have about the complicated merger. The value of the deal lost nearly $1 billion on Thursday after Energy Transfer announced disappointing earnings and the company’s stock dropped to its lowest level since 2009.” 

The economic uncertainties swirling around the gas industry, coupled with the intense opposition that pipeline projects are facing from local communities across PA, are making investors worried. No wonder global investors have begun contacting LAP to gauge the level of opposition on the ground. This is a good sign that projects like the Atlantic Sunrise are at risk of collapsing as investors accept that dirty fracked gas is not the wave of the future—but, rather, just one more dead-end fossil fuel already in decline. 

 

LAP Prepares for Legal Action Against Atlantic Sunrise

Since publishing the January issue of this newsletter, LAP is excited to announce the retaining of prominent environmental lawyer Anne Marie Garti to help in our fight against the Atlantic Sunrise Project. Anne Marie Garti co-founded Stop the Pipeline (STP) in June 2012 to oppose the Constitution Pipeline, a venture between Williams, Cabot, and two other companies. This pipeline would run 124-miles from Susquehanna County Pennsylvania through the Northwest Catskills and Central New York State. To resist it, Ms. Garti developed a legal strategy that is tightly integrated with community organizing. This approach empowers landowners and other residents who find themselves in the cross-hairs of the oil and gas industry to effectively participate in the complex regulatory process. In STP's case, these efforts have changed the balance of power, and so far stopped construction of the pipeline in New York State.

 

Attention, Land Owners Fighting the ASP

Elsewhere in PA, landowners are waging a fierce legal battle against Sunoco Logistics to stop the proposed Marine East 2 pipeline from tearing through their communities against their will. These efforts are costing the gas industry precious time and money. The goal is to derail the project altogether.

Not surprisingly, landowners along the ASP—many here in Lancaster County—are also exploring legal avenues to keep Williams off their land. Affected residents up and down the proposed route are considering lawsuits for a host of reasons, including: the abuse of eminent domain (if FERC ultimately approves the project), bullying & harassment by land agents, being offered fraudulent contracts, and the violation of preserved farmland.

If you’re an affected property owner committed to protecting your home against this proposed pipeline—and you’ve wisely refused to sign a lease with Williams—we strongly encourage you to contact Lancaster attorney Melvin Hess immediately at (717) 291-1700.

 

FERC's Decision on Atlantic Sunrise Delayed

It looks like the ASP has hit a snag. As Lancaster News recently reported, FERC’s permit for the ASP may be delayed several months as the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is proving to be more complicated than Williams expected. 

The huge volume of well-informed comments by local residents have brought to FERC's attention the uniqueness of Lancaster County—from our preserved farms, to land held in conservation, to our scenic waterways, to concerns over community rights. All these comments are requiring the federal commission to take longer than expected to deliberate on the project’s harmful impacts to our land, heritage, and local communities. 

Let's keep filling the docket with our comments, detailing reasons why this line has no business in Lancaster County. Even if you’ve already submitted a comment, there is still time & reason to write to FERC! 

Visit www.ferc.gov to submit your comments online.  Docket number for the ASP is CP15-138-000

According to FERC spokesperson Tamara Young-Allen: “Quantity is not as important as quality. The issues that are raised will be the issues that will be addressed, not if there are 50,000 letters saying I don’t want this in my backyard.” Here are some important topics to highlight in your comments: 

• If FERC gives Williams the power of eminent domain to seize land against the will of property owners, it would represent a Constitutional violation since this gas is contracted for export. The project does not advance the public good of landowners being forced to carry the inconvenience, risk, and harm associated with this pipeline. 

• 98% of Lancaster County residents who’ve submitted comments to FERC in reference to the ASP are opposed to the project. The ASP represents a gross violation of public will for the sake of private corporate gain. 

• Exporting this natural gas will likely increase prices domestically, and is therefore contrary to the public good. 

• Pipeline construction will disrupt agricultural production and tourism, the two largest sources of revenue in Lancaster County.

 

Community Members Prepare for Direct Action 

More than 40 residents of Lancaster County met with volunteer trainers earlier this month for a workshop in Non Violent Direct Action (NVDA) training. As more and more people across our county grow weary of lobby-eyed politicians who’ve sold out their own constituents & a “regulatory” system rigged by the very industries they’re sworn to regulate, the likelihood of peaceful—but forceful—direct action to halt this irreversible harm to Lancaster County appears to be inevitable. If our elected officials, laws, courts, DEP, cultural heritage, and farmland preservation status ALL fail to protect the safety and well-being of our families, homes, and priceless natural resources, it appears that many residents are willing to put their own bodies on the line. 

The workshop was extremely well received, empowering attendees with role-playing activities & the demonstration of non-violent techniques to keep gas industry workers off our lands and away from our homes. Attendees also learned methods of fostering productive interaction between courageous local resisters, police, news media, and gas industry employees—all while reducing the possibility of harm to all involved. 

Workshop organizers are already making plans to offer additional workshops in the near future. Be on the look out for announcements! There are many jobs to be filled when it comes to successful NVDA campaigns, including many that are behind the scenes.

 

Do You Believe in Magic?

On Saturday, March 5 at 2 PM, LAP will sponsor a Magic Show at the Conestoga Elementary School. Bring the whole family for an entertaining afternoon featuring the magical talents of John Paul, John Rutherford, Doc Yoder, and Almar the Professional Idiot. Tickets are $5. Children 3 and under are free! Click here to RSVP or for directions.

   

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Contact us via email at lancasteragainstpipelines@gmail.com  or call 717-284-4940.