Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Federal Marshalls arrive in New Milford with AR15s and Flexicuffs to take the Holleran/Zeffer Maple Trees

Federal Marshalls arrive in New Milford with AR15s and Flexicuffs to take the Holleran/Zeffer Maple Trees

After holding them off for a full month, this morning, Federal Marshalls have arrived in North Harford Maple, 2131 Three Lakes Road, New Milford PA (Susquehanna County) to take the family's maple trees which they use to make maple syrup for the "Constitution Pipeline".

They will have to cut through American Flags, which were painted on the

This activity was permitted by the lawless, rogue, and industry-captured
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The "Constitution Pipeline" violates our nation's laws
a dozen ways.

Here's how:
  1. The entire timeline is "Back-assward".

  2. (photo: BH)

    March 20, 2014
    As a few of us were traveling up I-88 to attend the FERC hearing on the Final EIS, Constitution was already bringing in Pipe!  This was 9 Months before the Certificate was issued, and 22 months ago. The environmental review is still not complete!!  

  3. Dec 2014 -

    Despite the fact that 121 landowners in NY and 7 in PA refused to sign an easement nor allow the land to be surveyed,  FERC issues "Conditional" Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity --- again--- PRIOR TO Environmental Review Being Complete!

    This "Conditional Certificate" has no basis in law, is outside FERC's statutory powers, and violates several of our nation's laws.

  4. Spring 2015 - Properties are Condemned based on the bogus "Conditional Certificate", the first part of eminent domain.

    Landowners have not been compensated, as this process can take years, yet this does not stop pipeline construction. This is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution (the founding document, not the pipeline)

  5. Feb 2016 - 20 miles of trees cut in PA

  6. Mar 1 2016 - Environmental Review STILL not complete!!!

    (CWA sec. 401 permit for NY and the US Army Corps 404 permit are still not issued)

  7. FERC kept the appeal out of court for 12 months by a "Tolling Order" in clear violation of the statutory time limits imposed by 15 U.S.C. § 717r(a)

This project has involved a series of VIOLATIONS OF LAW, inc. the Natural Gas Act (NGA), & the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA):

  • FERC failed to examine the "character of the applicant"  as required by the Natural Gas Act.

    The applicant "Constitution" being a partnership between Cabot Oil and Gas, and Williams Partners

    • Cabot has been issued 618 violations by the PA DEP since 2009, just in Susquehanna County. According to researcher Vera Scroggins, they are the #1 worst operator in the state.

    • Williams also has an atrocious safety record. Including 4 explosions or fires within 30 miles of Binghamton in just 2 years.  Just Google "Williams Safety Record" and you will find dozens of examples of their facilities exploding, people getting hurt or killed, and the companies being fined for violations.

      Now their stocks both have Junk Bond status.
      What happens if there are bad welds and this project goes over-budget?

    The Natural Gas Act demands that if an operator cannot operate safely and be in compliance with regulations, "such application shall be denied." 15 USC 717f(e) 

  • Jurisdictional Facilities under the Natural Gas Act constructed without a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

    Williams Central Station
    , Brooklyn Twp PA, built without FERC permit, in clear violation of the Natural Gas Act. (Photo: BH)

    It is impossible to transport natural gas though a pipeline 121 miles without an initial compressor. However the design plan submitted to FERC lacked an initial compressor.

    In fact, several compressors necessary for this interstate pipeline have already been built, including the Williams Central Station, and the CDP compressors in New Milford PA.

    The law is clear this this requires a federal Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (15 USC 717f(c)(1)(A)) which states:

    "No natural-gas company ... shall engage in the transportation or sale of natural gas... or undertake the construction or extension of any facilities therefor... unless there is in force ... a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by [FERC] authorizing such acts or operations"

    FERC lets them get away with this because FERC, without the consent of congress, GAVE INDUSTRY the right to define which facilities are jurisdictional under the Natural Gas Act. I call this the "API Loophole", because the API-RP80 document defines which facilities are considered jurisdictional. This is included by reference into the federal Codes, which carry the force of law (49 CFR § 192) How Convenient!

  • FERC failed to examine the "No Action" alternative required by NEPA

  • FERC failed to examine many environmental impacts required under NEPA 
    • cumulative impacts of multiple regional pipelines and compressor stations. 
    • upstream impacts (fracking),
    • downstream impacts (radon in homes),
    • dozens of direct and indirect impacts
    • impacts of segmented projects (Kinder Morgan NED)
    • and reasonably foreseeable impacts (more compressor stations)

  • FERC's "tolling orders" delay their response to Motions to Rehear (and thus lawsuits) violate statutory time limits imposed by 15 U.S.C. § 717r(a) --- This delayed the ability to sue for ONE FULL YEAR!!

  • Landowners have had properties condemned, but have not been compensated PRIOR to construction violates the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution

There are really many other ways which FERC violates the law.

But knowing this will not save the Holleran's maple trees.


(photo: Vera Scroggins)

I'm so very sorry.
We all tried our best.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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