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SEPTA Hydrogen Bus Project

Pilot/Test Project

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) Hydrogen Bus Project is a pilot project that implements the use of 10 hydrogen fuel cell powered buses beginning in the fall of 2024. From April 2024 through to the fall of 2024, SEPTA states they will be “piloting” the hydrogen buses but it is unclear exactly what that means. SEPTA states that from the fall of 2024 on, the buses are expected to be put into operation in the city for a pilot or test period. During this same period, 10 New Flyer fully electric buses will also be tested. These buses will be operated on various routes around the city of Philadelphia for the next year. The testing period will culminate in approximately the fall of 2025, at which time it is expected that SEPTA will decide which technology to proceed with in the future to power its bus fleet (either hydrogen fuel cell or fully electric or both).

This is part of SEPTA’s larger strategic plan to have a zero-emissions bus fleet in place by 2045. The current bus fleet, powered by diesel fuel, will be phased out or converted to alternative power sources beginning in 2025. The 10 hydrogen fuel cell powered buses in the pilot program will operate out of the Midvale bus depot located at 2401 Roberts Ave. in Philadelphia. The hydrogen will be produced using electrolyzers and shipped approximately 800 miles via electric trucks from Tennessee in containers as a crypto-temp liquid. At the Midvale bus depot, the liquid hydrogen will be warmed to a compressed gas that feeds the fuel cells to power the bus. While in use, the hydrogen gas will be carried in canisters on the roofs of the buses.

Expanded Plans at Build Out

The pilot program is just the start of SEPTA’s hydrogen bus plans. A 2023 feasibility study outlined plans to convert SEPTA’s bus terminals into hydrogen storage and refueling stations to serve its hydrogen-powered bus fleet. The report claims that liquid hydrogen storage and fueling for their bus fleet is feasible at six of their eight bus depots. The hydrogen fueling scenario assumed for each site involves purchase by SEPTA of liquid hydrogen, to be delivered to each site by tanker truck. At each depot the liquid hydrogen would be transferred from the tanker truck to an on-site liquid storage tank(s) with capacity for 1 – 2 days of bus fueling.

Between four and ten tanker truck deliveries of liquid hydrogen would be required per week depending on the depot. The liquid hydrogen would be pumped from the storage tank(s), evaporated, and delivered to on-bus hydrogen tanks as a high-pressure gas via one or more hydrogen dispensers. SEPTA’s largest depot (Midvale) would require 45,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen storage (3 tanks). The estimated cost of installing the hydrogen storage and fueling infrastructure ranges from $6.5 million at the smallest depot to $16.1 million at the largest depot.

Why should I be concerned?

Hydrogen gas is highly flammable and burns with an almost invisible flame in addition to being colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The flammability and potentially explosive attributes of hydrogen makes it very dangerous to handle, transport, and store. The lack of  a visible flame, odor, or taste makes it very hazardous for workers and any residents in the vicinity because they would be unaware when a release has occurred.[1]

Hydrogen gas contains the smallest and lightest molecule, which increases the probability of leaks through small holes and materials. In other words, due to its low viscosity, hydrogen is much more prone to leak from infrastructure than other hydrocarbons. Hydrogen leaks approximately three times faster than natural gas and five times faster than propane on a volumetric basis.[2] Fires and explosions have occurred in various components of hydrogen systems as a result of leaks that can quickly meet a variety of ignition sources.

These inherent properties of hydrogen pose serious public safety risks, especially in densely populated areas such as Philadelphia. For instance, three of the bus depots proposed for hydrogen storage are directly next to public parks, one is adjacent to an elementary school, and one is next to Cobbs Creek. Many residences and businesses are also in the vicinity of these bus depots, along with other sensitive features like train routes and the PGW gas plant. An accidental hydrogen release or explosion has the potential to be catastrophic. There is an obvious need for a comprehensive safety analysis, for special hazardous materials emergency response training, and for public disclosure of the potential dangers of hydrogen in the city. People should know and understand the safeguards that are in place and the responses that would be activated to protect the public, infrastructure and the environment in the case of a release of hydrogen.

There does not appear to have been any public participation in the decisions regarding this proposal so far, and the public is seemingly unaware of these plans and the risks of transporting, storing, and using hydrogen in their communities. This is a serious flaw in SEPTA planning since public participation is an essential component of good planning and without it, people are left uninformed and without a way to give valuable input into the decisions that are made that have substantial impacts on their lives.

It must be noted that because hydrogen leaks throughout its life cycle, while in transit and in storage and is emitted when it is created, the indirect greenhouse gas effects of direct hydrogen gas releases will amplify and extend methane in the atmosphere.[1] Methane is 86 times more efficient than CO2 at trapping heat over a 20-year period, making it the most potent of the major greenhouse gases.[2] The extension of the life of methane substantially undermines the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that is necessary to tackle the climate crisis.

Also noted is that the hydrogen that will be used by SEPTA during this testing and pilot period cannot be claimed to be “green”. SEPTA plans buy the hydrogen from Plug Power. The Plug Power website states “Plug uses electrolyzer and electricity made from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro-electric, and nuclear power to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.” This mix of energy sources contains hydroelectric power which emits substantial greenhouse gases to the atmosphere from reservoirs[3], primarily methane. The hydroelectric power used to make hydrogen by Plug Power is not green; it is a greenhouse gas emitter that will add to our burden of climate-destroying greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2021 Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan set a goal based on Governor Wolf’s Executive Order – a 26% reduction in net GHG emissions statewide by 2025 from 2005 levels.[4] President Biden has set a goal of reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.[5] The deep reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is considered the linchpin to slow atmospheric warming and the climate impacts that result, according to the final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report.[6] Hydrogen energy and its life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions used to power buses does not move us towards these global and local goals, it actually can be expected to dig us deep into the climate crisis hole. SEPTA’s use of the words “zero emissions” is misleading the public into thinking that these plans are benefiting the climate crisis when in fact they would be making it worse. The public must be made aware so they have an opportunity to speak up and protect their communities and the environment.

SEPTA is shown as a partner of the proposed MACH2 hydrogen hub; it is listed and mapped as a “transportation application” on the MACH2 website.[7] The hydrogen bus project may become an active end use of the hydrogen that MACH2 would produce if the price of the hydrogen is competitive with the sources that SEPTA uses to purchase hydrogen. As the SEPTA plan moves forward, the connection between the proposed MACH2 Hydrogen Hub and the current SEPTA hydrogen bus project will be made transparent, unlike the present where this connection is kept publicly unclear. For now, this is an example of how the MACH2 hydrogen hub is not only in the planning phase as MACH2 leadership claims but is actually materializing in Philadelphia as an end use hydrogen project without public engagement or discussion, even without public awareness, in violation of what MACH2 is required to do by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Community Benefits Plan process supposedly being implemented by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.

DRN has submitted a Right to Know Law Request with SEPTA to get more information and will be adding information to this web page as we gather it.


[1] https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/-hydrogen-unlikely-to-play-major-role-in-road-transport-even-for-heavy-trucks-fraunhofer/2-1-1162055

[2] Myhre, G. et al. 2013. Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F., D. Quin, G.K. Plattner, M.Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex, and P.M. Midglet (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential 

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/nov/06/hydropower-hydroelectricity-methane-clean-climate-change-study

[4] PA Climate Action Plan, PADEP, et al, 2021. 7200-RE-DEP 548 9/2021 G2515

[5]  https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate/

[6] https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/

[7] https://mach-2.com/about-mach2

Litigation: DRN & Delaware Riverkeeper v. PA DEP & Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.

Overview 

In a December 18, 2012 legal filing, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Hearing Board was asked to issue an Order of Supersedeas that would prevent the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company from proceeding with mobilization and tree clearing, the first steps in construction of its proposed NorthEast Upgrade Project (TGP’s NEUP). The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Responsible Drilling Alliance filed the petition, essentially a request for a stay of construction activity, together with their notices of appeal of three DEP permits issued for the project, in order to allow the groups enough time to pursue their legal challenge while maintaining the status quo. 

The Petition for Supersedeas requests the EHB to supersede the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) decisions to approve an Erosion & Sedimentation Control General Permit and to approve Water Obstruction & Encroachment permits for Wayne and Pike Counties for the TGP NEUP project. 

The Petition

The Petition, filed by attorneys on behalf of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Responsible Drilling Alliance, and the Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, asserts that DEP’s decisions to approve TGP’s applications for these various permits violated the law in at least three ways. 

  • First, TGP has a record of recent and on-oing environmental violations on pipeline upgrade projects on the same pipeline that clearly shows TGP cannot be trusted to comply with environmental laws. 
  • Second, DEP approved the permits even though the permit applications failed to meet the substantive requirements of the regulations. 
  • Third, DEP issued the Erosion and Sediment Control permit despite unrebutted expert analysis from the Pike County Conservation District finding that TGP’s plans contained serious technical deficiencies. 

 The petition goes on to say: “Because DEP’s improper approval of TGP’s activities will result in the irreversible discharge of sediment into the tributaries of the Delaware River; the improper destruction of mature trees that prevent sediment from flowing into these tributaries and provide shading to regulate temperatures in streams and wetlands; long-lasting damage and even permanent destruction of Exceptional Value wetlands; and the disruption of macroinvertebrate populations during the time that DRN’s appeal is pending, DRN will suffer irreparable harm unless the Board supersedes DEP’s decisions and suspends the permits and permit authorization.” 

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Northeast Upgrade Project

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Northeast Upgrade Project is an interstate transmission line upgrade project.. The NEUP is the final pipeline upgrade project in TGP’s multi-stage 300 Line upgrade project, although TGP has misrepresented that reality in order to avoid critical environmental regulation and oversight. Three of the loops that are part of this project are located within the Delaware River Basin (Loops 321, 323, and 325), which span Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania, and Sussex county in New Jersey. The project includes pipeline drilling activities under the Delaware River, significant new grading and clearing of previously undisturbed forested land and steep slopes, 90 stream crossings, 136 wetland crossings, and 450 acres of land development within our watershed alone. Highpoint State Park and Delaware State Forest are among the public lands to be damaged by this project. 

Currently, the western leg of the 300 Line runs from compressor station 219 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania to compressor station 313 in Potter County and consists of a 24-inch-diameter pipeline with a completed 30-inch-diameter loop along its entire length. Within the last 24 months Tennessee has applied to FERC for approval of four projects that together will compose the Eastern Leg of the 300 Line, starting at compressor station 313 in Potter County, Pennsylvania and stretching east to a delivery point in Mahwah, New Jersey.

 

Litigation: Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et. al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company

Federal Court Rules FERC Violated Federal Law When Issued Approvals for NEUP Pipeline Project 

Update:  FERC has failed to comply with the court’s ruling and revisit its NEPA review of this project – DRN is pressing the issue with the court.

In a decision issued June 6, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, ruled that the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the NJ Sierra Club and New Jersey Highlands Coalition were correct in their legal challenge to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Northeast Upgrade Project and ordered additional analysis and review.  Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s on staff attorneys were the lead in this legal action.

The Court stated: 

“On the record before us, we hold that in conducting its environmental review of the Northeast Project without considering the other connected, closely related, and interdependent projects on the Eastern Leg, FERC impermissibly segmented the environmental review in violation of NEPA. We also find that FERC’s EA is deficient in its failure to include any meaningful analysis of the cumulative impacts of the upgrade projects. We therefore grant the petition for review and remand the case to the Commission for further consideration of segmentation and cumulative impacts.” 

“On the record before us, we find that FERC acted arbitrarily in deciding to evaluate the environment effects of the Northeast Project independent of the other connected action on the Eastern Leg.” 

In May 2012 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company authorizing construction and operation of its Northeast Upgrade Project. Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the NJ Sierra Club and New Jersey Highlands Coalition argued that the approval was inappropriate because FERC had illegally segmented its environmental review of the Northeast Project by failing to consider three other connected and interdependent projects – the 300 Line Project, the Northeast Supply Diversification Project, the MPP Project – and by failing to provide a meaningful analysis of the cumulative impacts of the projects. 

DRN on the Decision

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper said about the decision: “This is important vindication of the rights of our communities and environment to be honestly considered and protected by our federal agencies. FERC has been allowing illegal segmentation by pipeline companies for years, it has ignored the pleas of the public for equity and for honest review of impacts, and as such FERC has been complicit with the pipeline companies in their ongoing efforts to avoid the rule of law and to ignore the devastating impacts they are having on our environment, impacts that will harm not just present, but also future generations. It is rewarding that a federal court has finally held FERC to account.” 

The case was argued before the Court of Appeals by Delaware Riverkeeper Network attorney Aaron Stemplewicz. Said Stemplewicz of the decision, “The D.C. Circuit’s decision today should put other pipeline companies on notice that the practice of segmenting pipeline projects before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will no longer be tolerated, and that the cumulative environmental impacts resulting from these projects must be fully considered before a project is approved.” 

Added Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum: “This decision is important and powerful for every pipeline, related infrastructure and LNG project to come, but sadly for the communities, forests, streams, wetlands and critters impacted by the four projects at issue here, the decision comes too late to ensure their full consideration and protection. We will be able to press for important mitigation and efforts to undo the harms already inflicted, but as for avoiding the full array of harms, that is now impossible. FERC needed to do its job when it had the opportunity – but they were too busy servicing the gas pipeline companies to care.” 

Of particular note – all three justices ruling on this case concurred on the final judgment rendered. 

 

Volunteer From the Comfort of Your Own Home — Review Comments For Critical Data

Sign Up to Help Provide An Accurate Picture of the Impacts of the Proposed PennEast Pipeline.

From the Comfort of Your Own Home …. You can help us pull key information points from the comments filed on the FERC docket for PennEast that we need to do a full assessment of its impacts.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has received thousands of comments from citizens concerned about the proposed PennEast Pipeline. Please help us to analyze the input received by FERC. The comments you will review have been submitted by interested parties of all kinds, advising FERC on what issues it should consider when writing an Environmental Impact Statement for the PennEast Pipeline. This is all part of FERC’s obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to help out, but your help will enable detailed economic and policy analysis that will lead to better information being brought to bear on FERC’s decisions regarding the pipeline over the coming year.

Please join the many volunteers already at work on this project by taking the following steps:

1) Sign up by clicking:  I’m In!  

2) You will then receive an email with a “packet” of 3 comment letters attached for you to review as well as instructions for using an online form for recording key information from each of the three letters.

Thank you in advance for considering and hopefully participating in this research effort. Your assistance will lead to powerful results as we hold FERC accountable to the voices of the people and environments who will be affected if the pipeline is approved and built.

If you want to get a sense of what we will be doing with your help and data, check out this great analysis done on the Atlantic Coast pipeline, an analysis we are working on that goes even one step further for the PennEast pipeline:  http://friendsofnelson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/20160209-FINAL-EconomicCostsOfTheACP_TechnicalReport

Let me take the opportunity to thank you for all you have already done to support our effort. There is much work to be done every day, but the best part of every day is the gratitude I feel for the friends and neighbors who are in this fight with us. We truly cannot thank you enough, and we’ll be thanking you all the more as you pitch in as a citizen-scientist on the review of the FERC comment letters.

If you’d like to learn more about the pipeline proposal and DRN’s work associated with it, you can read about it at here.

Please email keeper@delawareriverkeeper.org if you have any other questions about this opportunity or process.

With high regards,

 Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper

 

PA 401 Certification

Overview

February 7, 2017 the PADEP issued 401 Certification for the PennEast pipeline.  The Certification was formally noticed in the February 25, addition of the PA Bulletin.  February 28 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted a Petition for Review to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  (Appeal filed below).  

July 13, 2017 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s legal counsel argued in court that the third circuit should send the case back to the PA Environmental Hearing Board for review and identifying the myriad of ways that the oranization and its members had been denied critical rights as a result of the cart before the horse process the state, supported by PennEast, was utilizing.  To learn more about the arguments of the organization see the reply brief filed 8.7.17 below.

History of the Certification:

In a May 14, 2016 public notice PADEP announced its intent to issue a 401 Water Quality Certification pursuant to the Clean Water Act for the PennEast Pipeline Project.

A second request for comment was filed August 27, 2016, with a second 30 day comment period on what appears to be the identical filing of materials in May.

Key portions of the Application Submission and the public notice can be found in the resources below.

Additionally below you can find the comments and expert reports submitted by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network making the case to the state that they should deny the PennEast pipeline the Clean Water Act 401 Certification approval it is seeking.

 

FERC Certificate Challenge by DRN

Overview

January 24, 2018, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a rehearing request challenging the FERC Certificate issued approving the PennEast Pipeline Project.  The FERC Certificate was issued at 8:20 pm on January 19, 2018.

A Rehearing Request must be submitted and denied before a legal challenge in court can be pursued.  FERC has 30 days to respond to the request.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network also submitted to FERC a Motion for Stay to halt construction and any other land disturbance pending the rehearing request. 

The Rehearing Request, Motion for Stay, and associated press release can be found below.

On February 22, 2018 FERC issued a tolling order in response to our rehearing request, placing our organization in legal limbo as it was neither a grant nor denial of our rehearing request. 

On March 15, 2018 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted a rehearing request on the 2/22/2018 tolling order.  As expected, FERC issued a tolling order on this rehearing request on April 13, 2018.  Again, seeking to use this legal loophole strategy FERC has created to continue to prevent our access to the courts.  

On May 9, 2018, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed for a writ of mandamus seeking a court order that FERC respond affirmatively to our rehearing requests and also seeking to challenge the FERC final decision despite the tollling order.

All filings and documents can be found below.

 

Comments re Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Overview

On Friday, July 22, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the PennEast Pipeline project that is 1,174 pages long giving September 5 (then 12) as the deadline for comments.  FERC’s measly 45/52 day comment period was another blatant abuse of power by FERC in favor of the pipeline companies and to the detriment of the many people facing irreparable damage to their health, safety, environment and economic wellbeing.   Below is the cover comment and series of expert reports the Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted in response.  

There are other attachments not included below but which can be provided upon request.

 

Volunteer From the Comfort of Your Own Home -Review Millennium ESU Comments For Critical Data

Overview

Sign Up to Help Provide An Accurate Picture of the Impacts of the Proposed Millennium Eastern System Upgrade.

Photo of a group with Stop Fracking Pipelines signs

From the Comfort of Your Own Home …. You can help us pull key information points from the comments filed on the FERC docket for Millennium that we need to do a full assessment of its impacts.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has received hundreds of comments from citizens concerned about Millennium’s proposed Eastern System Upgrade (ESU). Please help us to analyze the input received by FERC. The comments you will review have been submitted by interested parties of all kinds, advising FERC on what issues it should consider when writing an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement for Millennium’s ESU. This is all part of FERC’s obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to help out, but your help will enable detailed economic and policy analysis that will lead to better information being brought to bear on FERC’s decisions regarding the pipeline upgrade project over the coming year.

Please join the many volunteers already at work on this project by taking the following steps:

1) Sign up by clicking:  I’m In! 
2) You will then receive an email with a “packet” of 3 comment letters attached for you to review as well as instructions for using an online form for recording key information from each of the three letters.

Thank you in advance for considering and hopefully participating in this research effort. Your assistance will lead to powerful results as we hold FERC accountable to the voices of the people and environments who will be affected if the pipeline is approved and built.
If you want to get a sense of what we will be doing with your help and data, check out this great analysis done on the Atlantic Coast pipeline, an analysis we are working on that goes even one step further for the Milllennium ESU:  http://friendsofnelson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/20160209-FINAL-EconomicCostsOfTheACP_TechnicalReport

Let me take the opportunity to thank you for all you have already done to support our effort. There is much work to be done every day, but the best part of every day is the gratitude I feel for the friends and neighbors who are in this fight with us. We truly cannot thank you enough, and we’ll be thanking you all the more as you pitch in as a citizen-scientist on the review of the FERC comment letters.

If you’d like to learn more about the pipeline proposal and DRN’s work associated with it, you can read about it at here.

Please email keeper@delawareriverkeeper.org if you have any other questions about this opportunity or process.

With high regards,

Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper

 

NYC Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) – Watershed Protection Program

Overview

New York City has one of the few unfiltered water supplies in the nation. That is how healthy our Delaware River water is – it is unfiltered and still clean and healthy to drink.  

Pursuant to state and federal law, surface water supplies must be filtered unless they can meet a strict set of standards that allow the avoidance of filtration. The Delaware River water that is served to New York City meets those strict standards. 

In July, 2017,  New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (NYDEP) proposed the most recent version of the Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) program it needs approved in order to continue its ability to serve unfiltered drinking water to City residents and visitors. NYC’s Watershed Protection Program and FADs have ensured a nationally recognized effort that has protected not just New York City’s primary water supply but that has provided unrivaled protection to the water quality of the Delaware River’s headwater streams and preserved thousands of acres of critical watershed lands and riparian areas in the Catskills. It is important that this program continue on its current watershed protection trajectory and that it not be subverted for political or other purposes that would diminish the quality of the program and therefore the quality of the additional and ongoing protection given to the Delaware River and, in turn, all communities that live downstream.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has been active on reviewing and comment on the most recently proposed FAD, dated July 2017, because protecting the headwaters of the Delaware River for New York City also ensures the quality of the River is protected for all those who live and benefit from the Delaware River downstream.

Stop the Pipelines

Overview

February 5, 2020: Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum testified on at a Congressional hearing titled “Modernizing the Natural Gas Act to Ensure it Works for Everyone”, held by the Subcommittee on Energy of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has been documenting the abuses of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a comprehensive Dossier and, with the VOICES (Victory Over InFRACKstructure, Clean Energy inStead) coalition, has been calling on Congress to hold investigative hearings into FERC and pass needed reforms to the Natural Gas Act for over four years. van Rossum called for reforms to the Natural Gas Act, written over 80 years ago, which has been used to proliferate natural gas pipelines and enable FERC’s abuses. Among these abuses are FERC’s use of tolling orders that place people in legal limbo, unable to meaningfully challenge a pipeline decision in court; its failure to consider climate change impacts when approving projects; approval of construction before states and other agencies have given needed approvals; and failure to demonstrate project need.

Maya’s testimony drew strong responses from the Congress members in the room. Many asked pointed questions intended to underscore the messages of her testimony, including Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ). Representative Nanette Barragan (CA) tweeted video clip of Maya’s testimony and echoed her concerns. Fossil fuel advocate Representative David McKinley (WV) confronted Maya, calling her “a threat to this economic development in West Virginia and maybe the country, for that matter,” because she is “so adamantly opposed to fracking.” He referenced EPA statements from 2011 and said “fracking’s been around 1860, 1840” in defense of the devastating extraction practice. Maya was joined in the room by members of VOICES who traveled from various states to stand in support and solidarity, holding up scarves reading “#FERCAbuses Communities & Environment”. DRN and VOICES continue urge Congress to enact need NGA reforms to remedy FERC’s abuses.

Watch the full hearing.

See Maya’s Testimony.

As shale gas extraction continues the infrastructure to advance and serve it is proliferating into communities throughout our watershed and beyond. Communities are eager for information, strategies, and collaborations they can use to help defeat the pipeline, compressor, LNG facility, process plant, cracker plant that threatens their community.  We hope the below resources and actions are helpful.

And if you would like the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to come and talk to your community about how to challenge a pipeline, compressor or other infrastructure project email keepermaya@delawareriverkeeper.org.  

In addition to the links provided be sure to take a look at the expert reports, policy documents and maps provided on the list below.

Get an overview of the impacts of pipelines for communities and the environment by reviewing the Delaware Riverkeeper Network Pipeline White Paper. 

The irreparable harms pipelines inflict on wetlands is an important regulatory battleground.  Learn more about those harms so you can be better informed for the debate. Wetlands report.  

Learn more about how Pipelines inflict more harm than they have to. We don’t want any of these pipelines cutting through our watershed and communities, but if the battle is lost, there is a way they can be constructed that makes them far less harmful. Learn more about the construction practices associated with Pipelines.  Pipeline ROW report.

Gas drilling and pipelines are a major concern for bat populations, already being devastated by other threats and harms.  Click the link to see a copy of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network commissioned report.  Bat report.

Proliferation of pipelines is intimately connected to the shale gas extraction invasion taking place in communities across PA and beyond. Learn more.

Some background on pipelines and their safety record across the country in this video.

The Delaware Riverkeeper’s presentation of the first pipeline petition to the DRBC on September 12, 2012 on video here.

How compressors associated with pipelines have impacted lives in this video.

Wetlands harms imposed by an Upper Delaware River pipeline and the callous disregard of the company and the agencies in this video.

More pipeline harms in this video.

To see what happened at a March 6, 2013 DRBC meeting where citizens demanded action on pipelines see this video.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network presents Pipeline Lessons video series:  To help residents understand the damage caused by natural gas pipelines and provide guidance on the science, law and strategies Delaware Riverkeeper Network presents the Pipeline Lessons video series.

Among the experts interviewed: 

  • Accufacts Incorporated President Rich Kuprewicz discussing pipeline safety issues and the route selection process.
  • Michelle Adams, a civil engineer with Meliora Associates is featured discussing the weaker regulatory standards shale gas operations face compared to other land developments.
  • Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum talks about how citizens can organize and strategies to fight proposed pipelines.
  • Environmental scientist Wilma Subra examines the environmental health effects associated with shale gas extraction and pipelines.
  • Delaware Riverkeeper Network staff attorney Aaron Stemplewicz discusses the legal actions property owners can take whose land is targeted for pipeline installations.
  • Leslie Sauer, ecological restoration expert, looks at the construction impacts of pipelines.

    You can watch the Pipeline Lessons series on the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s YouTube Channel