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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