Pennsylvania county raps national park chief over pipeline

The Associated Press
Posted June 08, 2012, at 2:08 p.m.

STROUDBURG, Pa. — County commissioners in northeastern Pennsylvania are calling for the ouster of the superintendent of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, saying he forced a natural gas pipeline to detour around the park through seven miles of unspoiled forest and private properties.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan plans to upgrade 40 miles of its transcontinental Tennessee Gas Pipeline, about half in Pennsylvania and half in New Jersey.

The Pike County commissioners say the pipeline company had an existing one-mile right of way within the national recreation area, but that Superintendent John Donahue blocked the company from using it.

That will force the pipeline to detour around the park.

Donahue “has not been a friend to this county,” Commissioner Rich Caridi said at a meeting Wednesday, according to the Pocono Record. “That he is going to allow seven miles of this county to be disturbed: We find it absolutely repulsive.”

Commissioner Matt Osterberg added: “His lack of concern for people in this area is evident. Mr. Donahue should probably leave this region.”

Donahue defended himself in a statement to the newspaper.

“There was no request to use the existing pipeline right of way. The [National Park Service] has no authority to issue a new right of way for any new oil or gas pipelines. Only Congress can do that. As far as personal attacks, I have no comment. I have done my job protecting the interests of the 300 million Americans who own this nationally significant unit of the system.”

In fact, records show that Tennessee talked with Donahue in 2010 about using its existing route, but Donahue discouraged the company, warning that it would require legislation by Congress, and that the National Park Service would oppose it, the newspaper reported.

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., has met with Donahue, the pipeline company, residents and county commissioners in a bid to resolve the dispute.

Bill Tighe, his chief of staff, said Marino supports an appeal of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision allowing the pipeline to detour through Pike County.

“Ultimately, we hope the NPS will work with us to come up with legislation to allow the pipeline to go through the park in the existing right of way,” Tighe said.

Information from: Pocono Record, poconorecord.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/08/outdoors/pennsylvania-county-raps-national-park-chief-over-pipeline/ printed on September 20, 2014