A pipeline is trying to come through my county. It’s going through the heart of where I was raised, and will also be skirting through the township where I now call home. I see it creating a much bigger divide than just the project itself. Landowners who need money. A preserve that needs protected. People who are just pissed. Local government whose hands are tied. Those who believe it’s impossible to stop it. Those who support infrastructure projects like these.
I’ve learned a lot of things over the years about how to fight properly, about the way corporations work, and have seen, from history, the way government works. And it’s entirely confusing. It’s incredibly easy to just get mad, to yell, to blame everything on big corporations and a corrupt government. But I also believe that much of what is going on in our country is because we have let it happen. We have not fought for our basic rights as citizens of the United States. We use our Freedom of Speech as sounding boards for general opinions, yet find ourselves failing to speak up at injustices because we feel it’s not worth the effort to push for change.
Tonight Williams, the group that wants to develop the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline that will bypass an existing pipeline and make it easier for Williams to get supply to its Maryland distribution center, will hold at open house at Millersville University’s Student Memorial Center from 6-8 p.m.
While I believe it’s important to organize and protest when you are against something, I also believe that in being blinded by our concern over the project when we fail to do the things that matter most. Here are some tips not only for tonight but for the future as we work to keep this pipeline project from being approved:
- Write or leave a comment with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This government agency will approve/deny the project. While it is important to voice your concerns to local and state legislature, they will not be the ones voting on this matter. FERC is supposed to have representatives at the meeting tonight, but here’s how you may contact FERC directly and OFTEN:
Submit electronically: https://
Submit snail mail:
Docket No. PF14-8
Atlantic Sunrise ID is PF14-8-000
- Talk to landowners directly affected. Detailed maps will be provided at the meeting tonight. You will be able to find out which of your neighbors will be directly impacted by the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline potentially going through their property. Yelling at your neighbors is not going to work. Giving them solid, factual, historical information on pipelines in other areas of the country, as well as information on the preliminary Atlantic Sunrise project to get them informed. Williams has already talked to them. Williams is smart-they know the project better than anyone else, their reps have backgrounds in conflict resolution and public relations so they are prepared with the right answers to make impacted landowners feel safe about choosing to accept the pipeline on their property. There is money involved. Money that talks, especially to residents who are struggling financially. Williams has told them the pipeline is safe, they will get money for lost crops, and life will return to normal after the pipeline-or so they’re told. What do we have to offer them? Fear, anger and no compensation. Instead of confrontation, keep them informed of meetings, give them handouts with factual information (not speculative or fear mongering materials), and remind them of the value of our Lancaster County land.
- Understand that Williams knows everything. They are not dumb. They are prepared financially and educationally. They are reading our Facebook forums. They know about all of our meetings. They are surveying our land. They are talking with our residents. They are influencing our government. Whatever we do, they will know about and have the people on the ground to try and dismiss our claims and promote themselves.
So why try? If you have concerns over the pipeline installation, why should we try? Because this is our land. Because we are U.S. citizens and we have a right to own property and to protect our natural resources, especially land that has been preserved. We have a right to fight for an unnecessary pipeline. We need to understand that this is a bypass project and not a main route. It is PROPOSED, but not approved. FERC has the final say, not our local/state government, not Williams, and not us.
FERC is the ultimate go-to for your concerns. Not all pipeline projects are approved. Williams has to prove to FERC that this project is necessary to the general public. Considering that pipelines are already in existence to route the product to the Maryland distribution center, this project is only being proposed to ease the pressure in existing pipelines rather than Williams spending money to upgrade existing distribution channels. It is NOT NECESSARY-this is important to remember and important to mention when contacting FERC.
I hope you will keep this information in mind so we not only can continue to fight to protect our land, but that we can win the fight fair and remain reputable and valid in FERC’s considerations.
Attend the 7/1 West Hempfield meeting to discuss concerns for West Hempfield residents who may be impacted by the proposed pipeline.