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Sierra Club Slams Federal Report Claiming Few Concerns About PennEast Pipeline

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Federal regulators do not have any major environmental concerns with the proposed natural gas pipeline that would run from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported, regulators say the environmental impacts of the roughly $1.2 billion natural gas pipeline would be “effectively limited.”

But Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final impact report for the PennEast pipeline glosses over the real issues.

“It’s shameful. If you read it, it’s not worth the paper that it’s written on,” Tittel said. “It will cross more than 256 streams, hundreds of wetlands, go through literally 600 acres of forests.”

Tittel said 65 percent of the data is missing from New Jersey because property owners have not allowed anyone on their land to survey.

The impact report does outline several areas of concern, including trace amounts of arsenic in some rocks the pipeline would cross and potential threats to endangered species.

The PennEast Pipeline, funded mainly by regional energy companies looking for better access to natural gas, would run 119 miles from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania to Mercer County, New Jersey, CBS Philadelphia reported.

PennEast spokeswoman Pat Kornick praised the report and said it is the final federal regulatory hurdle.

In addition to environmental concerns, some landowners have also taken issue with eminent domain. In a May 2016 interview, Jacqueline Evans of Stockton, New Jersey, told Cleve Bryan KYW-TV, CBS3 in Philadelphia that the pipeline would run right through the middle of her farm.

“It doesn’t seem like something that should happen in America. That somebody could just come through and take it from me,” Evans said in the 2016 interview.

She also said surveyors from PennEast trespassed on her property.

Evans was one of seven private land owners, as well as two environmental groups, that filed a trespassing lawsuit against PennEast at the time, CBS Philly reported.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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