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Agency Tries to Block Tree Clearing for Pipeline
Fears Damage to Water Resources From Premature Clearing

Agency Tries to Block Tree Clearing for Pipeline

The Delaware River Basin Commission's request recalls the Constitution Pipeline. Several acres of maple trees on a northeast Pennsylvania farm were cleared in 2016 to make way for a pipeline that later failed to get a crucial permit from New York state. The landowners are still seeking compensation for their lost trees.

The PennEast pipeline is a natural gas pipeline that has been proposed for 2019 construction along a route that runs through both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which represents the basin states of New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania, has requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) block PennEast workers from clearing trees along the proposed pipeline route before the DRBC has officially approved the project.

The DRBC is concerned that premature tree-clearing could result in negating water resource impacts related to stream bank stability, soil erosion and instream sedimentation that may go unchecked until the pipeline is completed. The FERC has denied the DRBC's request, citing improper filing procedure. Tamara Young-Allen, a spokeswoman for FERC, has stated that the request will be considered if it is submitted through the proper channels.

Due to the laws of eminent domain, if trees have already been cut, the FERC may claim in court that the project is already too far along to stop. If this is the case, the FERC may be able to block any legal challenges from the DRBC.

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January 21, 2020, 10:55 am PDT

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