Experts from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, part of El Paso Corporation met at the Lackawaxen Township Supervisors’ meeting attended by all three Pike County Commissioners and Pike County Conservation District as well as the Lackawaxen River Conservancy last Wednesday to discuss the effects of the pipeline’s proposed upgrade on the immediate area.


Experts from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, part of El Paso Corporation met at the Lackawaxen Township Supervisors’ meeting attended by all three Pike County Commissioners and Pike County Conservation District as well as the Lackawaxen River Conservancy last Wednesday to discuss the effects of the pipeline’s proposed upgrade on the immediate area.
The Tennessee Gas Pipeline extends from Mexico to Canada and is approximately 14,000 miles long transmitting natural gas throughout the United States. In a $750 million project proposed to more effectively bring gas from the Marcellus Shale Project to market, they are currently working on an upgrade which will involve the land adjacent to as well as the pristine water of the Lackawaxen River about a mile below the Rowland Bridge site.
Concerned groups such as the Pike County Conservation District and the Lackawaxen River Conservancy were on hand to ascertain what sort of construction and work would be involved and  just how much the river and its adjacent area would be disrupted.
Since the project is planned for June, others were concerned that this is the time of the height of tourism in the area as well as a planned Lackawaxen River Sojourn which would travel down the river set for June 20.
Another concern is that this is time when the river is still high which would most certainly be a problem according to experts, noting that August would be more ideal when the river is lower. When the river is high and more water is released from Lake Wallenpaupack, more flooding and disruption of earth, animal life, fish life, reptiles could be disturbed. Also at issue by environmentalists is whether an endangered species, the timber rattlesnake would be disturbed as there are several nests in that particular area.
Christina Abaroy of Tennessee Gas Pipeline provided a lengthy, informative, specialized presentation complete with exactly how this upgrading would be done. Wet crossing vs. dry crossing construction was discussed. Wet crossing is described as an alternative method which better protects the resources of the water involved.
The approximate time-table of such a project would be four weeks, according to Abaroy. When asked if they anticipate blasting, she said, “yes.” However, she explained that blasting would be “low impact.”
Brian Stuart, Lackawaxen Township Supervisor, said, “We need to reevaluate when the river is at its lowest and then get in and get out.”
This appeared to be the consensus of attorneys present, including Pike County Commissioner Karl Wagner who is also an attorney and asked if the Tennessee Gas Pipeline could get back to them early next week.  This was agreed upon.
The Pike County Commissioners are considering filing an appeal of the permit issued to start work. The county, represented by Thomas Farley, Esq. also asked Lackawaxen Township for financial help. They are also considering acquiring financial help from Tennessee Gas for further examination of information. This would mean going to DEP and requesting the file, which does take time, according to Susan Beecher of Pike County Conservation.
At risk is tourism, recreation, plant life, wildlife and the preservation of the Lackawaxen River which was 2011 Pennsylvania’s River of the Year, according to conservation experts and environmentalists concerned about the project.