Pitts, Houghton weigh in on proposed natural gas pipeline, but not face to face

Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2014 12:50 pm

U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts — through a statement — and his challenger, Tom Houghton — in person — expanded on their views on the controversial natural gas pipeline proposed for Lancaster County at a community meeting in Conestoga Township on Wednesday.

The community meeting had been set up by the citizens group, Lancaster Against Pipeline

Pitts, who declined to come to the meeting or send a representative if Houghton was present, said in a statement that making sure Lancaster County residents’ concerns about the pipeline are communicated to the federal agency that will decide the project has become “my top local priority right now.”

Read more at Lancaster Online.

Read Lancaster Farmland Trust’s powerful comment to FERC:

The Lancaster Farmland Trust posted a powerful comment to FERC on the final day of the EIS Scoping period.

From the introduction of their comment, it was clear that they were in strong opposition to the pipeline:

Now, the most successful farmland preservation program in the United States, faces its greatest threat – the siting of the Transcontinental Pipeline Company / Williams Partners LLC “Atlantic Sunrise” natural gas pipeline (PF 14-8). Farm families who have committed to preserving their land in perpetuity face the specious choice of agreeing to a right-of-way that will permanently scar the land they love or suffer the taking of their land by eminent domain. Farm families who have made the difficult choice to give up the potential for financial gain by relinquishing their development rights now face the potential that a pipeline they neither want nor need will negatively impact their agricultural production and their ability to support their families.


The comment cited projected loss of production for farms along the pipeline route:

The proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline requires a construction right-of-way of 160 feet and a permanent right-of-way of 50 feet resulting in the disturbance of thousands of acres of farmland on hundreds of farms. The proposed pipeline will negatively impact productivity on these farms for decades. TRANSCO/Williams assurances that they will carefully replace the “topsoil” disturbed during construction and compensate farmers for loss the of production for a period of three years, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of soil science and the long-term consequences of the proposed pipeline on agricultural production. As demonstrated by the research by Penn State University, the pipeline – both the construction phase as well as the permanent placement – has the potential to negatively impact agricultural production on thousands of acres for decades.


The Trust also spoke out against Williams’ inadequate outreach to the Amish community:

Because the Amish do not use modern technology, the dissemination of information by modern methods is ineffective. TRANSCO / Williams has failed to respect these cultural differences and has utilized outreach methods that do not reach the Amish community. Meetings are held in locations at distances that are difficult to reach by horse and buggy and information about the pipeline is posted on the Internet and cannot be accessed by the Amish. While the Amish community maybe the most impacted by the pipeline and its construction, they are the least informed about its impacts.


They concluded the comment asking for FERC to deny approval of the pipeline:

As the environmental impact of this project is assessed, it is critical that future use of the proposed right-of-way be considered. Once the right-of-way is established through the farm fields of Lancaster County – and given the continued production of natural gas in the  Marcellus Shale region – it is very likely that permission will be sought to site additional pipelines through the (then) existing right-of-way. The potential exists that the right-of-way could be excavated multiple times to satisfy the growing demand. This repeated disturbance – or even the threat of it – would place a tremendous hardship on farmers and could be sufficient to drive farmers away from farming.

Clearly, the impacts the Atlantic Sunrise project will have on the people and environment of Lancaster County outweigh any benefit that could be realized by siting this project in Lancaster County. TRANSCO / Williams has alternatives to transport the natural gas. Therefore,  Lancaster Farmland Trust respectfully requests that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deny approval of the TRANSCO /Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

To view the entire comment, click here: Trust letter to FERC

Video: W. Hempfield Town Hall Meeting

Full video of West Hempfield’s Town Hall Meeting on 8/11

Call Williams, Demand End to Trespassing

On Wednesday from 9AM to 5PM:

Call Williams Representatives and Politely Demand An End to Trespassing.

Several residents of Martic Township have contacted Lancaster Against Pipelines with the news that Williams trespassed, again, on their property on Thursday Morning.  The residents issued this statement in coordination with Lancaster Against Pipelines.


We, residents and landowners of Martic Township, oppose the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.  Williams Partners appears to have a history of trespassing on private land.  We have not given Williams Partners permission to survey our land.  But, despite our speaking out, Williams continues to trespass on our land.

Now, we are asking residents along the pipeline’s route to help us out.  On Wednesday, August 13th, beginning at 9am, we are asking for people to call Williams Partners, and politely demand that they stop trespassing on private land anywhere along the route of the Atlantic Sunrise.

On Wednesday from 9AM to 5PM, call the following Williams Executives:

Company Headquarters: 800-945-5426

 Tom Droege:   918-573-4034  Media contact on Financial info and company strategy.

Chris Stockton: 713-215-2010 Media contact on Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines

Sample Script:

“Hello, my name is [your name], I’m calling from [your location].  I am calling because I am outraged by your company’s continued trespass onto the private land of residents in Martic, Pennsylvania.  These residents are clearly opposed to the pipeline and do not want your representatives or contractors to enter your property.  I respectfully ask that your company stop trespassing onto private land.”

Please be peaceful, respectful, and dignified in all phone calls to Williams.  


Williams Trespasses Again, Martic Residents Ask for Help

For Immediate Release:

Contact: M. Chris Collins, Martic resident.

Phone: 717.413.5215

Email: chriscollins@frontier.com

Williams Trespasses Again, Martic Residents Ask for Help

Holtwood, PA: On Thursday – the day after Martic Township residents held a press conference exposing repeated trespassing incidents by pipeline surveyors – a Williams land agent trespassed upon Magnolia Dr. residents’ land when they were not home.

The police were notified of the trespassing.  Chris Collins of Susquehannock Dr. was asked to contact the news by her neighbors.  They say they wish to remain anonymous for fear of increased trespassing by Williams.

“Our neighborhood is sick and tired of being harassed,” said Collins, “My neighbors on Magnolia Drive are livid.  On Thursday, they came home to find Brian McCarthy, a Williams Partners representative, on their property, waiting to speak to them.  This is despite the press conference we held on Wednesday, and the multiple No Trespassing signs on their property.”

Collins says that two houses down, another neighbor encountered McCarthy on his property.

“My neighbors feel violated, and so do I.  Our “No Trespassing” signs should have made it clear that Williams is not welcome on our properties under any circumstance.  In our neighborhood, people respect each other’s properties.  Williams Partners representatives are not being respectful.  We are asking the public to help us confront this continuing issue.”

Chris and the other Martic residents have worked withlancasteragainstpipelines.com to ask for help from Lancaster County residents:

We, residents and landowners of Martic Township, oppose the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.  Williams Partners appears to have a history of trespassing on private land.  We have not given Williams Partners permission to survey our land.  But, despite our speaking out, Williams continues to trespass.

Now, we are asking residents along the pipeline’s route and other concerned citizens to help us out.  On Wednesday, August 13th, beginning at 9am, we are asking for people to call Williams Partners, and politely demand that they stop trespassing on private land anywhere along the route of the Atlantic Sunrise.

Click here to find full details of the Call-in Day to Williams, including phone numbers & sample script.



Martic Township Residents Release Statement in Response to Williams

Today, Martic Township landowners released the following statement:


“This morning we received a phone called from Bonnie Anselm, Senior Right of Way Agent for Universal Field Services.  Ms. Anselm informed us that all of the surveyors who trespassed upon our land were “released from the project.”  We later learned that Cindy Ivey of Williams has released the Universal Field Services crew from working with Williams Partners.

We do not believe this adequately or satisfactorily addresses the problem.

First we were worried about the safety of the pipeline, now we worry about the safety of our property & homes.  Williams Partners has broken our trust. We have learned that Williams’ surveyors have a history of trespassing on properties on other projects.  We have also heard from other Martic & Conestoga residents that their land was illegally surveyed in the past.  We are therefore led to believe that the surveyors’ actions were systemic, and not an isolated incident.

Following the incidents this week, our neighborhood has pulled together.  Our community is united against the pipeline.

We believe that information gathered through illegal surveying should not be allowed to be used in the process of filing with FERC.  We call on Williams Partners to dispose of all illegally-gathered survey records from our properties.  We call on Williams to change this pattern of illegal trespass, by holding higher-ups accountable.


M. Chris Collins

Ed Saxton

Tim Desmond

Kevin and Kelly Shelley


All three landowners who have signed on to this statement spoke at the press conference last evening.  More are expected to sign on soon.

TONIGHT – Press Conference – Martic Residents Speak Against Trespass By Pipeline Surveyors

For Immediate Release:

August 6, 2014 – Press Advisory

Contact: Tweet @nolancpipelines on Twitter for phone number and home address location of the press conference.

TONIGHT – Press Conference – Martic Residents Speak Against Trespass By Pipeline Surveyors

Martic Township landowners who reside on Susquehannock Drive, Magnolia Drive, and Venture Drive will speak to the press tonight regarding incidents of illegal trespass by Williams Partners’ pipeline surveyors.  The press conference will take place at [redacted] - one of the homes where the trespass occurred – and will begin promptly at 7pm.

The press conference will feature brief public statements from 6 landowners whose properties were illegally surveyed by Williams Energy.  The residents will detail William Energy’s surveyors trespass upon their land, and ask for state law enforcement to protect Martic Township properties from illegal entrance by survey crews.  A number of Martic Township landowners are expected to be in attendance in support of those speaking out against Williams Partners’ surveyors trespass.



W. Hempfield Pipeline Information Meeting

Monday, August 11th, at 7:00pm, W. Hempfield Township residents are invited to a Pipeline Information meeting to learn about & discuss the proposed pipeline through W. Hempfield.

There will be a presentation by Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck of Martic Township, followed by a question and answer session.



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Public Scoping Meeting August 4th

10471193_10152135706971637_62836477279430427_nFERC is the body that will rule on whether Williams Partners can build the pipeline.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced Friday it will prepare an environmental impact statement on the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Expansion Project, which includes a 36-mile natural gas pipeline through Lancaster County.

FERC said it would use its environmental assessment in determining whether to permit the project if it is “in the public convenience and necessity.”

The “public scoping” meeting  will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Student Memorial Center at Millersville University, 21 S. George St., Millersville.

Williams staff will be at the meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. for an “open house,” similar to the one the company held at MU in June.

“Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues need to be evaluated in the environmental impact statement,” FERC said.

The public and interested agencies may submit comments orally or in written form at the meeting. Or, comments can be submitted electronically using the “eComment” feature located on FERC’s website at www.ferc.gov. Or, written comments may be sent to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St., NE, Room 1A, Washington, D.C., 20246.

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Community Action Meeting for Martic Township

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