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Protesters target Wolf’s gas pipeline task force

Anti-fracking activist Dory Hippauf outside the state Department of Environmental Protection's pipeline meeting.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Anti-fracking activist Dory Hippauf joined with other protesters outside the state Department of Environmental Protection's meeting. "The pipeline companies do not respect the people," she says.

Anti-fracking protesters are squaring off with Governor Tom Wolf’s administration over its efforts to collaborate with natural gas pipeline companies.

About 20 protesters showed up for the governor’s pipeline task force Wednesday in Harrisburg. The committee is headed by Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley. It’s comprised of representatives from local, state, federal government, as well as energy companies, and environmental groups. It’s aimed at creating plans and best practices for the region’s pipeline building boom, which will bring thousands of miles of new interstate pipelines to carry Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas to new markets.

“What you’re doing is wrong,” Bucks County climate activist Jasmine Spence told the panel.”[Natural gas] is not a bridge fuel. It’s a fuel that will lock us into more methane emissions. The problem here is the power of the fossil fuel industry.”

States have little oversight of interstate gas pipelines, which are mostly regulated at the federal level. The protesters criticized the task force as a public relations front by the Wolf administration.

“They’re badly misinformed,” Quigley says of the activists. “This is an honest, serious, attempt to get all stakeholders involved. If we’re going to have a constructive conversation, you have to have the industry in the room.”

Quigley has previously said he’s not interested in creating a new regulatory role for the state, but rather wants to minimize pipeline impacts to communities and the environment.

The task force is nearing completion of its draft report, which is expected to published on November 14th. The public will be able to comment on it until December 14th, and it will go to Wolf early next year.



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