On March 24, 2020, Chamber President and CEO Rob Wonderling submitted the following letter to Neil Chatterjee, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in support of PennEast’s 2020 Amendment Project.
RE: Docket No. CP20-47-000
On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Chamber’s Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team (GPEAT), I am writing in support of PennEast’s 2020 Amendment Project. This phased approach would allow PennEast to meet the public need in Pennsylvania in the short term while granting more time to resolve hurdles in New Jersey.
In January of 2018, FERC issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct PennEast, demonstrating the project met a clear public need while minimizing environmental impact. The revised phased proposal follows, with one exception, the entire route previously approved by FERC, beginning with its point of origination in Luzerne County to a new property, owned by PennEast, in Northampton County. There are no changes in landowners along the first phase apart from a terminus location owned by PennEast, where there will be interconnections with two other transmission pipelines, Columbia Gas and Adelphia Gateway, to serve the growing energy demand in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
FERC has already conducted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the entire PennEast project, which concluded that “approval of the Project would result in some adverse environmental impact; however, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of PennEast’s proposed mitigation and the additional recommendations in the draft EIS.” The EIS conducted by FERC is already a more exhaustive environmental review than the environmental assessment requested for the project’s amended proposal. Any further environmental concerns regarding the phased approach should be limited to the property which PennEast owns and where the interconnections will take place.
It is already well known that much of the progress made in the last decade to reduce CO2 emissions in Pennsylvania has occurred in the electric power sector due in part to the increased use of natural gas to generate electricity. Not only will PennEast provide an affordable supply of energy to our region, but it will also help displace higher emitting fossil fuel sources and improve our air quality.
It is in times of crisis and uncertainty when we realize the need for a reliable supply of energy to power cities and feed critical manufacturing operations. Natural gas pipelines continue to be an essential, life-sustaining operation that helps families and businesses across the state keep homes warm and economies thriving. With our current outlook, our region cannot afford to delay the economic and environmental benefits that come with a reliable supply of affordable natural gas. PennEast has already received many authorizations at the state and federal level. For these reasons, I urge the Commission’s swift approval of the PennEast’s 2020 Amendment Project.
President & CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia