Residents in Level Green met Thursday, May 26 at Protect PT’s Community Environmental Education Center to learn about the proposed Level Green Pipeline.
Protect PT Staff and Tim Fitchett, staff attorney at Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, presented information on the operator, Apex WML Midstream LLC based on records from the PA Department of Environmental Protection and other public records and understanding and negotiating right of way contracts. The proposed Level Green Pipeline starts at the proposed Drakulic Well Pad and runs through Level Green to another pipeline portion, the Lyons Run Pipeline, which runs through Murrysville. The 8” diameter pipeline would carry unprocessed, fracked methane gas. The pipeline will use Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), a method for installing underground pipelines that uses a drill on the surface (entry point drilling pit) to bore a hole into the subsurface using thousands of gallons of water and bentonite clay for lubricant.
“No one seems to know who will check the pipeline for safety,” said Ann LeCuyer, part time contractor with Protect PT. “I’ve talked to PA DEP, to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a part of the Department of Transportation, and no one seems to be communicating with each other.”
Apex has a history of violations with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (which can be accessed through a shortened link https://protectpt.info/compliance).
Tim Fitchett, staff attorney at Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, was invited by Protect PT to help residents understand and negotiate right of way contracts. Several residents said they had been approached by landmen to sign easement contracts. Residents were advised to consult a lawyer before signing a contract.
“The landmen are not your friends,” said Fitchett. “They’re looking out for themselves and the company, not you. They cannot force you to sign. This is a convenience pipeline. They cannot take your land by eminent domain.”
Fitchett discussed several concerns with pipelines, including the width of the easement, limitations on construction and repair, requirement for the minimum depth of the pipeline, as well as payments for replacing lost or damaged trees, crops, fences, etc.
“Many residents think this is a done deal, but that is what people said seven years ago when we started organizing to protect our community,” said Gillian Graber, executive director of Protect PT. “No matter what the company tells you, the community has the power to say no.”
Residents who missed the community meeting can watch a recording of the presented material and receive informational packets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.