Energy. Environment. Economy.

Lancaster County residents criticize pipeline proposal

Protesters opposing the pipeline stood outside the Lancaster County Commissioners meeting  Tuesday.

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

Protesters opposing the pipeline stood outside the Lancaster County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

A proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through Lancaster County is angering many residents.

It was standing room only as concerned residents packed a public meeting this morning between the county commissioners and the pipeline company, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners.

Williams is seeking to transport natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale to markets along the Eastern Seaboard as part of its $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise expansion project. There are currently no plans for the gas to be used within Lancaster County.

Williams operates the Transco system which has over 10,000 miles of pipeline moving gas to other businesses, like utility companies and power plants.

“Transco transports between nine and ten percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States,” Williams public outreach manager Cindy Ivey told the commissioners. “This [Atlantic Sunrise] project would increase Transco’s capacity by about 20 percent.”

The proposed line– known as Central Penn South– runs the western edge of Lancaster County along the Susquehanna River. Much of it would follow existing utility corridors and cut through several nature preserves– including Tucquan Glen and Shenk’s Ferry Wildflower Preserve.

Williams spokesman Chris Stockton says the route is still very preliminary and the company is in the process of scheduling an open-house for residents to learn more about the project.

“We will have very detailed maps there,” says Stockton. “And experts from the company that will be able to answer questions and ultimately make changes to the route– tweak it this way, move it that way.”

None of the nearly 30 people who spoke at commissioners meeting supported the project. Many raised concerns about safety, property values, and environmental degradation.

Tim Spiese of Martic Township says he’s most concerned about the quality of life for people living along the pipeline as well as the county’s nature preserves.

“I can’t understand why we’d threaten even one square inch of those properties,” he says.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is charged with siting the placement of interstate pipelines. Lancaster County government has no legal authority in the process.

If approved by FERC, representatives from Williams say the pipeline would not be operational until 2017.


  • Celia Janosik

    Pipelines will become a large bone of contention as they can be equally dangerous as transporting the gas by road & rail. The oil & gas industry is very hazardous, explosive and toxic. Solar is friendly.

  • Alena Clatterbuck

    This pipeline goes through my wooded property and will destroy the trees that have been growing here for years, just so Williams company can gain a few bucks. Non of the gas is even going to Pennsylvania, but we old the risk. Public risk for private profit. I was there on the streets protesting! -Alena

  • Lenny

    This isn’t renewable gas! That’s what we should aim for!

    • unknown

      Just because the gas is iin the ground doesn’t mean it has to come out. Fossil fuels are terrible for the earth and for the people. What about solar, and wind? we should put our money into that!

  • CleanEnergy

    Pipelines are the highways of PA’s new economy. Without pipelines, the gas industry is stifled and consumers will be exposed to increasingly greater price and supply volatility for both gas and electricity. While the gas moved through this line might not physically be consumed in PA, the benefits to PA residents are numerous (taxes, jobs, prices). Don’t believe the hype about solar and wind. The number of trees that must be cleared for both FAR exceed that which is required for natural gas. We Pennsylvanians should welcome the industry, for generations now have the opportunity to benefit from a strong new source of jobs!

    • lizzyfin

      Please explain the numerous benefits of taxes, jobs, prices. Is there a guarantee that Pennsylvanians will be hired for any subcontracted work? Taxes and prices are out of your/our control so that can’t be benefits just because you say so.

    • J. Rizzo Mertz

      None of the natural gas that will be piped through this project will be made available to Lancaster County. We are being forced to assume a great deal of risk for no benefit. Williams Partners is not a company to be trusted. They have already lied to Lancaster County residents and have a long and documented history of environmental violations that have resulted in millions of dollars in fines.

    • Jim

      Is there a record of problems on the pipelines operated by the Williams Company, what kind of safety record to they have ? How many explosions, leaks and fires have been associated with the company. Would it make sense to run this pipeline in the Susquehanna River ? Making fires and explosions less dangerous.

    • 3FHC

      PA’s new economy for whom? This is a typical example of how the average Pennsylvanian bears all the externalities: environmental degradation, diminished quality of life and strains on our infrastructure for the benefit of companies that don’t care one whit about PA, supported by legislators that are more interested in kissing their behinds than the well being of their constituents.

  • Buffy Seidel

    Can’t believe that the “Clean Energy” comment below is from anyone other than the industry itself. Just ignore the fact that the gas is being transported out of the country. That lower energy prices would threaten gas profits, and that clitizens in this state are already seeing the negative consequences of an industry that is out of control in this state.

  • Emmy

    Alena is ABSOLUTELY right. this place is beautiful, serene, and peaceful. If this pipeline is installed, just know that waking up will be like this from then on: “Oh what a lovely morning! Oh how wonderful! that pipeline exploded, and now the trees surrounding the place where I live and grew up are now on fire.” ” and look I no longer have a yard! How pleasant!”

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