Delaware Township Committee Member: PennEast Pipeline Would Cause Problems

Something you don’t hear every day, a politician asking voters not to vote for her. All because of the proposed PennEast pipeline that would stretch 107 miles through the heart of Delaware Township. Delaware Township Committee member Kristin McCarthy has served nine years but now says she wants to devote all her energy to blocking that pipeline. It’s too late to get her name off the ballot. McCarthy told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that even if she is reelected, she will not accept the position.

“I will not take the position. Essentially if I get reelected and do not accept that result of the election, the Democratic Party would put up three names the Township Committee would ultimately select from and that person would serve one year of my term and then they would have to go run again themselves next November,” McCarthy said.

On Monday, the committee adopted a resolution by McCarthy to block the construction of the PennEast pipeline. McCarthy said that the resolution does not actually block the pipeline but that it does voice the committee’s opposition to it. She also said that the PennEast pipeline is federally regulated and that she hopes that the municipality and the other six towns affected by the pipeline can let the federal government know that they are opposed to it.

As for her opposition to the pipeline, McCarthy said that the pipeline cuts through properties of preserved farmlands and very fragile ecosystems. She also said that the economic impact will be bad because it would prevent people from signing up for farmland preservation.

McCarthy also said that even if the pipeline is buried, it still raises concerns. For example, McCarthy said that farmers who have been certified as organic farmers could lose their certification due to the pipeline because soil will be touched or moved, resulting in the farmer no longer being considered an organic farmer.

Representatives from PennEast have said that the project will bring in 10,000 temporary jobs and millions in taxes to the town. McCarthy said that PennEast actually claimed that about 2,000 jobs will be available but not that they would be local. At a meeting, McCarthy said that PennEast had claimed that they would give up $5.2 million in tax revenue. The municipality would receive a small portion and, according to McCarthy, the town ran numbers and that the tax revenue would be about $1.5 million in five years. She also said that when the municipality asked for PennEast’s numbers, representatives were not able to explain or provide the municipality’s tax assessor with how they came up with their statistics.

“So I remain a bit skeptical about the number,” said McCarthy. “In Delaware Township, I believe it’s six miles of pipes, so we do get a tax revenue. But it’s certainly, at this point, the way we’ve run our numbers — we’ve double checked with the state, double checked with our tax assessor, reran them yesterday — we’re getting much closer to our original number which was about $300,000, of which the municipality would get $42,000.”

On how she plans to prevent the pipeline from being built, McCarthy said, “Well we hope to register to be intervenors in the federal process and we hope to point to the federal government and make a very strong case as to why this pipeline is a bad idea not only for Delaware Township but our region in general.