Anti-Pipeline Sentiment Simmers at Columbia County Scoping Meeting


Last night’s scoping meeting at Bloomsburg University was overwhelmingly anti-pipeline.

Before and after the meeting, Nathan and I distributed fliers for SOC’s upcoming town hall meeting (details below) as well as pipeline primers and letters to deny or rescind permission to survey.  We met lots of soulful and very fired up people.

One by one landowners and other folks from around the county (because, as one attendee told me, we will all be affected if the pipeline goes through) approached the microphone to say their peace.

Virtually every speaker was staunchly opposed to the pipeline, but what’s even more notable is that the vast majority seemed disgusted with the lack of transparency and democratic process.

More than one speaker said that they would take direct action to stop the pipeline–the idea of staging sit-in was mentioned came up in a few people’s speeches.

People gave impassioned speeches, calling out Williams and FERC for exploiting and misleading them.  Such speeches were typically met with applause.

It felt like an impromptu rally rather than the next step in a dull bureaucratic process.

And this is completely understandable given the sense of disempowerment expressed by the people in attendance and the fact that neither Williams nor FERC have allowed themselves to be genuinely accountable to the communities that this project will affect.

Consistently, people said that the “open houses” have not been adequate forums for addressing their concerns and that Williams representatives have been slippery when it comes to answering tough questions.

SOC will do it utmost to channel this energy into an organized, community-led resistance effort.

To this end, we are hosting a town hall meeting on Friday August 15, 7pm at the Bloomsburg Fire Hall (911 Market Street, Bloomsburg PA 17815).

town hall flier

Our intention with this event is to give landowners and concerned residents a chance to learn from and support one another, and also to discuss next steps for taking collective action.

In the mean time, residents are encouraged to submit comments to FERC no later than Aug. 18 although they will be accepted afterward. Another public comment period will begin after FERC issues a draft of its environmental impact statement (EIS).

Comments may be submitted online in the eComment site at under the “Documents and Filings link.” They can also be mailed to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St. NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

All comments should include the pipeline docket number, PF14-8-000.