Business Community Government

L. Saucon Council Adopts Resolution Opposing Pipeline

Est. Read Time: 3 mins

Lower Saucon Township Council members were met with applause and gratitude from meeting attendees Wednesday night after they unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline.

A portion of a PennEast-supplied map shows the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline/lateral sub-pipeline through Lower Saucon Township, and the individual land parcels located along it.

A portion of a PennEast-supplied map shows the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline/lateral sub-pipeline through Lower Saucon Township, and the individual land parcels located along it.

With the 4-0 vote, the township joined with Moore Township, Northampton County and Riegelsville borough, Bucks County in opposing the project, which would deliver natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region to a switching station near Trenton, N.J., via a 108-mile, high-pressure pipeline.

Although the route hasn’t been finalized, a portion of the main pipeline as well as a two-mile arterial line known as the Hellertown lateral will likely be built in the northeastern part of the township if the PennEast consortium of companies ultimately receives permission from federal regulators.

In December, township council was told unequivocally by landowners whose properties are in the path of PennEast’s proposed route that they don’t want to see that happen, and council subsequently agreed to consider a resolution opposing the pipeline.

According to the resolution council adopted Wednesday, “the construction and operation of the proposed pipeline/lateral threatens to significantly damage streams, wildlife habitat, existing farm operations, and the quality of life in Lower Saucon Township.”

The resolution also states that:

  • “The proposed pipeline may negatively impact the residents of Lower Saucon Township by lowering property values, and disrupting residential, farming and commercial activities.”
  • “The proposed pipeline may also negatively affect the health, safety, welfare and quality of life of the residents of Lower Saucon Township.”
  • “Council hereby authorizes participation in the scoping meeting process, and further indicates its intent to intervene in the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) process at the appropriate time.”
  • “Council seeks the cooperation of other similarly located and affected municipalities, asking that all nearby municipalities adopt a similar resolution.”

It was noted at the meeting by Food & Water Watch local coordinator Tara Zrinski that although resolutions similar to the one adopted by Lower Saucon were recently considered by officials in Williams Township, Northampton County, and Durham Township, Bucks County, they were rejected amid fears of litigation.

“Not passing the resolution actually puts your community at greater risk, because it means you’re handing your authority over to PennEast,” Zrinski said. “I think this resolution is critical to empower the surrounding municipalities.”

Lower Saucon Township resident Gloria McVeigh said she thought the resolution was an important action by council.

“I describe the PennEast pipeline as making a ‘Sherman’s March’ through our region,” she said, comparing the project to the infamous swath of destruction carved through the Deep South by a Union general during the last days of the Civil War. “I believe council’s resolution can make a difference,” she added.

Cathy Pichel-McGovern, who spoke out as an affected landowner in December, thanked council for its efforts on behalf of residents such as herself.

“I just want to publicly thank the council for supporting the landowners,” she said. “We really appreciate it.”

Councilwoman Priscilla deLeon, in turn, thanked the residents and property owners who spoke out against the pipeline for their “grassroots” effort, and urged them to “just keep it up, because we can make a difference.”

DeLeon also reminded attendees at the meeting that a scoping meeting involving federal regulators will be held at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem Township on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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