Apr

16

Our next meeting will be on May 15, 7 pm, Polk Municipal Building.

Apr

16

We will have our Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 28. We will meet at 10:00 am, corner of Lower Smith Gap Rd and Covered Bridge Rd in Little Gap. Bags, gloves, and safety vests will be provided.

Apr

16

APWC will have an informational booth at the Monroe County Earth Day. This event will be on Saturday, April 21, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The location is the Monroe campus of Northampton Community College on Route 715 in Tannersville.

Jan

31

We are saddened to report the loss of a long time member and advocate for our local watersheds and environment, Frank O’Donnell. Frank left this life on Thursday January 25th. As many of you already know, Frank was very active in the Eldred Township community. In 2001, he was instrumental in forming The Blue Mountain Preservation Association to fight a racetrack that threatened the natural beauty of the Eldred Township side of the mountain. Frank served as President of BMPA for most of the twelve years that it took to defeat this project. BMPA, with a coalition of other environmental organizations, achieved their goal of forever preserving this 360 acre property. The final result was the PA Game Commission acquiring the land, which is now part of State Game Lands 168. These efforts involved countless hours of meetings, phone calls, faxes, trips to Harrisburg, more meetings, forming coalitions, involving lawyers, trips to the store to spend money on paper, ink, computers, printers, stamps, etc., and did we mention meetings?

Throughout all of this Frank’s wife Marion was always at his side, fighting the good fight against this monstrosity that was to be built right next to their peaceful farm. The long ordeal robbed them of so much time and money that should have been spent quietly enjoying their retirement. Yet they persevered in a fight that so often looked unwinnable. Frank’s doggedness and strength throughout this made him a mentor to us, both in fighting for environmental causes and just for standing up for what is right in life.

We have SO many fond memories of Frank at BMPA meetings-his leadership, his stories, his projects, and his special laugh-best described as a “Happy Cackle”-will be terribly missed. Even after the Alpine Rose ordeal was over, Frank remained devoted to responsible development by being on the Zoning Hearing Board of Eldred Township and attending most of the Board of Supervisors Meetings. He and Marion also continued to be involved with local environmental groups, namely APWC. They supported our work with their memberships, welcome advice born of great experience, and their dependable presence at our meetings. (We joke that they must have gotten hooked on the going to meetings thing-LOL!)

As the Board of Directors of APWC, we send our sincere sympathy to the O’Donnell Family.

Jan

31

APWC is pleased to announce a scholarship fund in honor of long time member Frank O’Donnel for the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program. Interested parties may apply for an interview and will be reimbursed upon completion of the course. Please see the previous post regarding the MWS Program.

Jan

28

Penn State Extension is pleased to announce the launch of the Master Watershed Steward Program in Monroe County. This program is designed to give a structured and formal training regarding water resource stewardship to interested people, creating an energized and educated group of citizens.

The course consists of 40 hours of classroom sessions over 12 weeks, one evening a week with several field trips on Saturdays.

The program is looking for 20- 25 interested people for the Class of 2018. The first class will be on March 1, 2018. Interested parties are encouraged to apply by February 6!

If interested, please contact Jim Vogt at:

jav45@psu.edu

570-421-6430

https://extension.psu.edu/programs/watershed-stewards/counties/monroe

Jun

12

The proposed PennEast pipeline was announced in August 2014. The 114 mile long line will start in Luzerne County and run Southeast to terminate near Hopewll, New Jersey. The Right of Way (ROW) would cut a 125′ scar through private properties,  88 streams, wetlands, and sacred Lenape sites. In the Aquashicloa and Pohopoco watersheds, the line would cross several Exceptional Value Wetlands and be very close to the water line that supplies the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has to give approval before the project can begin. Public hearings and comment periods are mandatory as well. Two hearings were held in Carbon County. The first was an open format- all attendees were able to hear comments. The opposition to the project became apparent at all public meetings, and for the second round of hearings a different and troubling format was used.

Instead of an open hearing, comments were taken one at a time, with a representative from FERC and a stenographer present. The public was not allowed to hear testimony. Statements were transcribed and published on the FERC website- http://www.ferc.gov.  Click on the eLibrary link, then General Search and enter Docket No. CP15-558.

APWC has filed as an Intervenor and we have submitted several comments.At this time, PennEast has submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that, according to EPA, lacks sufficient data. In Pennsylvania, 23% of land owners refused access to PennEast to survey. In New Jersey, 70% of the land owners refused access. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has declined to act as a “Cooperating Agency” and declined to accept the DEIS. The New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel submitted a strong case against the need for the pipeline. FERC has even demanded 34 corrections to the application. Permits to the Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey DEP lack critical information.

There have been at least 33 route changes as of September 2016.

One of these was to accommodate Blue Mountain Ski Area, to provide gas for the water park. That change was to go along the EV Wetlands on Aquashicola Creek. The ROW was not on the ski area property, they wanted the benefit without the cost.

A subsequent change moved the ROW to the Northwest, through private lands again.

The opposition has moved the proposed “in service ” date back at least one full year!

As of this date, FERC has two unfilled  Director positions, making a decision impossible.

 

 

 

 

Feb

12

Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge has added some acreage along Aquashicola Creek- please look for the details in the Refuge Update article at the top of the page.

 

Jul

5

On June 9, at the Eldred Township Board of Supervisors Meeting, Nestle` withdrew it’s application to withdraw 200,000 gallons of water per day form the Gower site.  The announcement was followed by a standing ovation, clapping, and tears of relief. Thanks are in order to the residents that banded together and showed that the “little people” can indeed stand up for their rights!

Nestle` stated that the permit withdrawal was based on several reasons, among them issues with zoning improprieties and working around an existing business. In a written statement, Nestle`said that they believe in partnering with communities to provide economic and community benefits. Nestle` hydrogeologist and spokesman Eric Andreus said “It is clear to us that the community in Eldred Township does not believe the process around this project worked the way it was intended and that many of you have concerns about this project. We want you to know we hear you.”

This contadicts all national reports on Nestle extractions as these communities are all opposed- see the posts below for examples.

A rumor that Nestle` was exploring additional sites in the region were denied by Nestle at the Polk Township Board of Supervisors meeting on June 27. Mr. Andreus stated that ” At this time, Nestle` Waters is not monitoring springs or exploring the potential for a spring source in the CJERP Region.” CJERP is the Chestnuthill, Jackson, Eldred, Ross, and Polk Regional Joint Plan.

 

 

May

1

The Eldred Township Zoning Board is holding hearings regarding the application by Nestle`/Deer Park to withdraw water from the Gower property on Buckwha Creek at a rate of 200,000 gallons per day every day, for a ten year lease period.  Included will be 60 tanker truckloads a day, at all hours.

This is a very convoluted story- we are including some links that should help to clarify things. An excellent article can be found at  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35780-nestle-is-trying-to-break-us-a-pennsylvania-town-fights-predatory-water-extraction. There is also a very well done blog that can be found at http://www.illegaleldredtwplanduse.blogspot.com/. It is right up to date, and is informative as well as entertaining!

A local citizen- led group that opposes Nestle`/ Deer Park  has formed as well. They can be found at http://eccostar.org/. The citizens of Eldred Township are vastly opposed to this project- it is a blatant attempt to steal their drinking water, and APWC is in opposition to Nestle` Deer Park as well.

The Eldred Township Zoning Board will be holding ongoing meetings to address the application on 5/18, 6/15, and 7/20. These meetings will be held at the Eldred Firehouse, 7pm.