KINGSTON TWP. — Mary Leeds and 12 other residents rejected PennEast Pipeline’s eminent domain offers at the “Tear Up the Offers” event Friday.
Residents along the planned PennEast Pipeline route tore up their eminent domain documents outside Leeds’ Kingston Township home during a Concerned Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline “Tear Up the Offer” demonstration.
Leeds’ father, Lou Dal Santo, 93, and his 89-year-old wife stood outside in 16-degree weather in a snow-covered lot as the group held up white papers, representing eminent domain offers and ripped the papers to pieces.
“We reject these offers,” Leeds said. “They (PennEast) will have to take us to court to take our land.”
The PennEast Pipeline is a 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline that will start in Dallas Township, cross through the Wyoming Valley and extend southeast to Hopewell Township, New Jersey. The pipeline will transport one billion cubic feet of natural gas to customers in Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Leeds received a $13,000 eminent domain offer from PennEast for a 50-foot swath of land on a nearly half acre bedrock-riddled lot that separates her home from her parents.
Once the pipeline is installed, Leeds and her parents would be required to pay taxes and maintain the property.
“We would not be able to use the land,” Dal Santo, a World War II veteran, said. “What happened to the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Where is the law to protect private citizens?”
In 2014, PennEast submitted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity application to the Federal Energy Regulation Committee. If approved, the application will give PennEast permission to use eminent domain to obtain property for a planned pipeline route that would cut through the Back Mountain and Wyoming.
FERC is slated to give a final decision on PennEast’s application in 2016, according to the gas company’s website.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.