Thousands of acres of open space in Chester County will remain protected and undisturbed, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Brandywine Conservancy, private landowners, and other local conservation organizations. A proposed natural gas pipeline that threatened preserved lands is now defunct.
Originally proposed in 2006, the AES/Mid-Atlantic Express natural gas pipeline was to run for 88 miles from a planned liquefied natural gas import terminal at Sparrows Point on the Chesapeake Bay to Eagle, Pennsylvania. In Chester County, the pipeline would have crossed over seven miles of lands eased to the Conservancy, over four miles of lands under agricultural easements, and over one mile of land eased to other land trusts. Planned to cross 48 streams and 23 wetlands in the county, its construction would have involved 84 acres of workspace on Conservancy-eased lands alone, including prime farmland and forestland, in addition to a permanent new seven-mile, 50-foot right-of way. The impact and environmental damage to our protected lands, including prime farmland, woodlands, wetlands, and streams would have been extensive.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project, albeit with 169 conditions, in 2009. The Conservancy along with the State of Maryland, 15 affected easement landowners, the LNG (liquified natural gas) Opposition Team and the Bradford Glen Homeowners Association, appealed the project's approval in federal court, and the case has remained in abeyance (on hold) for several years. This fall, the company asked FERC to revoke its approvals and FERC has now done so.
"We are extremely pleased that the company finally decided to terminate the project, which we had said all along was not needed given the abundant domestic sources of natural gas and renewable energy," said Sherri Evans-Stanton, director of the Brandywine Conservancy's Environmental Management Center.
The Brandywine Conservancy (www.brandywineconservancy.org) was founded in 1967. It holds more than 440 conservation easements and has protected and facilitated the preservation of over 58,000 acres in Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, as well as New Castle County in Delaware.