Letter to the Editor: State’s natural gas pipeline task force wrongly keeps public at arm’s length

The state Department of Environmental Protection recently announced the release of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force’s draft report.

There will be a 30-day comment period, which began Nov. 14; however, there will be no public hearings or meetings that would allow Pennsylvanians to speak directly to task force members and comment on this report.

We are in a period of the next big “boom” when it comes to natural gas, that being the building of pipelines. Multiple pipelines are under construction or are being planned for every nook and cranny in Pennsylvania. There are hundreds of concerns held by thousands of Pennsylvanians that much be addressed.

According to the task force’s mission statement:

“The unprecedented build-out creates an opportunity for the Commonwealth to engage stakeholders in a collaborative process to achieve a world-class pipeline infrastructure system.

“This will be a transparent process, and will entail close coordination with federal agencies, state partners, local governments, industry representatives, landowners and environmental advocates.”

Furthermore, the draft reports states, “All told, this pipeline infrastructure build-out will impact communities and the environment in every county in Pennsylvania.”

Considering this task force boasts of having a collaborative and transparent process, and pipelines will impact every county in Pennsylvania, it is incomprehensible why there will be no public hearings, unless its members don’t want to hear what Pennsylvanians have to say.

Dorina Hippauf