Western New Jersey

Local mayors rally in Washington D.C. against PennEast Pipeline

Local mayors rally in Washington against PennEast Pipeline

WASHINGTON D.C. - From the Garden State to the political salad that is Washington D.C.

"We wanted to make sure that those who may have some ability to help us in the review and hopefully in stopping the pipeline know that we are unified," said Delaware Township, New Jersey Mayor Susan Lockwood.

Mayors from New Jersey's Hunterdon and Mercer Counties traveled to meet with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC to hand deliver 9,000 signatures protesting the proposed PennEast Pipeline, as well as meet with other government agencies and legislators.

"Wells are wells. There is no Democrat well or Republican well. The water in our groundwater is apolitical," said Kingwood Township, New Jersey Mayor Richard Dobbs.

The 114 mile long proposed pipeline, that promises to bring lower priced natural gas into the region has become a propeller for controversy. Homeowner groups in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey are lobbying hard to stop it and have filed lawsuits against PennEast.

"People do not want these pipelines and I think it's admirable when regular people who aren't used to being advocates get up and do something about it," added Patty Cronheim of Rethink Energy New Jersey.

No one from FERC came down to meet the group. When 69 News wanted to speak to someone, officials said no one would be coming down, and no comments would be made.

However the signatures have been added to FERC's docket for review.

In a statement PennEast said, "between Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are more than 20 million residents. A petition with 9,000 signatures, 7 percent of which come from states well beyond the vicinity of the pipeline, does not represent the majority."

"I don't. I don't think FERC listens to the public. I think FERC does what it wants to do. Some would suggest it does the bidding of the industry without looking into the public interest." Steven Richardson said.

Richardson is part of the DC legal team suing PennEast on behalf of New Jersey landowners.

FERC has said it will decide on whether to approve the pipeline by summer 2017. Richardson said only once in 30 years has FERC denied an application.

No matter its decision, Richardson says there's a long legal road ahead.

"We are not at the beginning of the end, we're not even at the end of the beginning, we are in this for a while," he said.

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