Please read our article, published today, regarding the recent news from the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline written by our President and CEO, Philip R. Wenger. Click here to read directly from Lancaster Newspaper Online or read it now, below.
We must protect Lancaster County’s own Yellowstone
– Philip R. Wenger | Special to LNP
Would we, as a community, support a pipeline that dissected and ruined Yellowstone National Park?
State Reps. Bryan Cutler and Brett Miller and U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts suggested to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that they would support such a project — in this case the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline, which would run through protected lands in Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve and Tucquan Glen.
These pristine Susquehanna River Hills are Lancaster County’s Yellowstone Park. They are places so pristine that, years ago, the public insisted they be protected. The counties of Lancaster and York, along with our state government and the National Park Service have poured millions of public dollars into setting these parcels aside and protecting them for public enjoyment and for future generations. These two preserves entertain thousands of visitors annually. And now our elected representatives support their further destruction?
These precious, beautiful lands were terribly harmed many years ago when PPL dissected them with wide rights of way that are now devoid of trees. These rights of way are actually 125 feet wider than they appear because PPL set aside more capacity — woodlands — for future use.
Everyone needs to understand: The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline location along this corridor, under this proposal, would run next to the total 325-foot right of way, virtually eliminating Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve.
Do our community and legislators really support destroying these protected natural lands as an alternative to the current proposed route? This move to push the pipeline back onto public lands is taking place after more than 80 percent of the private property owners have signed agreements to sell their rights of way to the existing route.
Lancaster County Conservancy understands why our Martic and Conestoga neighbors would oppose the pipeline going through their private lands, and we are taking the same position with your public lands. We oppose cutting down any trees that protect the rivers and streams that clean both the water that flows into the Chesapeake Bay and the air we breathe. Trees on private lands and public lands are critical to the health of this community and must be protected.
It is a shame this pipeline is being rammed through southern Lancaster County, causing severe harm to both the private, wooded River Hills and public lands like Tucquan Glen. It appears that when pipeline builder Williams and FERC can get the community to fight against itself over alternative routes, it weakens the opposition.
We don’t want to choose sides. We believe this pipeline’s destruction of our forests, private or public, will be permanent, since the land can never be reforested. This will cause irreparable harm.
If the pipeline must be built, one sensible-sounding idea would be for the pipeline to be located directly under the electric transmission lines owned by PPL, rather than beside their existing rights of way. However, the science is unclear if this is even safe or advisable because of the electrical fields of high tension power lines.
The conservancy is asking for your support to oppose the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline, which will destroy our precious natural lands in southern Lancaster County and threaten our own Yellowstone National Park — a place so majestic it should never be considered for destruction by a pipeline.
If you are concerned, we encourage you to contact FERC and file your opinion against destroying these incredible protected preserves and woodlands and visit lancasterconservancy.org for details on how to do a FERC filing. Please join our “Save Tucquan Glen & Shenks Ferry” Facebook page to show your support for these wild places and let your voice be heard. These are your lands and we need our community to support us as we protect them.
Philip R. Wenger is president and CEO of the Lancaster County Conservancy.