Lehigh Valley

Landowners rip in disagreement over PennEast pipeline

LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. - At K Brook Farms in Lower Saucon Township, owner Thomas Rowe has a lot of plans for the future, but none of them included having the PennEast pipeline come through his property.

Now, Rowe is one of several local landowners fighting to stop PennEast from using eminent domain to survey and ultimately build the pipeline on their land.

That power was granted conditionally to PennEast earlier this month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

PennEast sent out easement offers to landowners along the 115 mile pipeline route that stretches from the Poconos to Trenton, and on Friday, some landowners tore them up in protest. 

"If they want their land they have to go to court and prove to their judge that they're entitled to it," said David Juall.

Attorney David Juall represents the landowners. He says PennEast will take landowners who don't sign the easement agreements to court.

"PennEast uses legal proceedings as a last resort -- they are emotional, they are burdensome, they are costly for all involved -- they are counterproductive to our commitment to building positive relationships," said Patricia Cornick.

PennEast spokesperson Patricia Cornick says 75 percent of landowners have signed and PennEast is eager to address the concerns of hold outs.

She says reaching an agreement now is in the best interest of landowners.

"A third-party financial determination historically and in all likelihood will result in lower offers than PennEast's current premium offer," she said.

The deadline for landowners to sign the agreement is Monday.

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