New Jersey Sierra Club protests proposed PennEast pipeline

JEFF TITTEL, DIRECTOR of the New Jersey Sierra Club, remarked to about 100 people who came to show their opposition to the proposed PennEast Pipeline, "The Delaware River is Ground Zero in the battle for clean water."

They listened to Tittel's speech at Bulls Island State Park in New Jersey, then took a 3-mile protest walk on the towpath for the Delaware and Raritan Canal, which flows beside the Delaware River. He pointed out that 7 million people count on both the canal and the river for clean drinking water. The Sierra Club chose Sunday, March 20 to hold the protest because that's World Water Day.

"You don't have to go to the third world to find people with water problems: Go to Flint, Michigan or Camden and Newark (New Jersey)," he said, connecting water problems those communities have with lead in the water supply to the problems that gas pipelines could bring to local water supplies.

The 110-mile proposed pipeline's route starts in Luzerne County, Pa and runs through Carbon, Northhampton and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania and then Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey where it will connect with an existing pipeline in Pennington, N.J.

Right now, the plan has it crossing the Delaware in Riegelsville, Pa.

Mike Sclafani was at the protest with his fiancée, Nicole Britez. PHOTO BY MEG McGUIRE

Environmental Activists Take to Local Protests for Global Results

THE NEW YORK TIMES | March 19, 2016 

They came here to get arrested. Nearly 60 protesters blocked the driveway of a storage plant for natural gas on March 7. Its owners want to expand the facility, which the opponents say would endanger nearby Seneca Lake. But their concerns were global, as well ...READ STORY

 The Sierra Club's   actions in New  Jersey echo activists across the country   who are taking a   stand against all   fossil fuel energy.   That includes natural gas despite its supporters pointing out that moving to gas from coal and oil can go a long way to improving air quality.

A New York Times article (left) reported on a protest over fracking and water quality at Seneca Lake near Reading, N.Y., on March 7, where numerous protesters were arrested.

Tittel characterized the power companies as rushing to get the gas from Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania to markets on the East Coast, and said, "New Jersey is called the crossroads of the Revolution. It is becoming the crossroads of the pipelines."

According to an article in New Jersey Spotlight, the state is awash in plans to build new natural gas pipelines, many of them going through areas set aside with taxpayer funds to preserve open space or farmland.

There are 10 pipelines that cross the state, five are gas and five are oil.

Mike Sclafani was at the protest with his fiancée, Nicole Britez, and said he was there "to support the fight against Penn East. It goes directly through Milford, N.J. where I live."

See the route here.

About Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire has been a journalist for 30 years in New York and Connecticut. She started in weekly newspapers and moved to full-time work in dailies 25 years ago. She knows about the tectonic changes in journalism firsthand, having been part of what was euphemistically called a "reduction in force" six years ago. Now she's working to find new ways to "do" the news as an independent online publisher of news about the Delaware River, its watershed and its people.

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