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Supporters cite need for a pipeline

PennEast has held the same position since debuting its pipeline proposal back in 2014: that it will serve utility customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Patricia Kornick, a Penn-East spokeswoman, said the company reviewed about 100 different routes for the pipeline, changing its path nearly three dozen times before settling on the current one.

“A pipeline does not necessarily go in a straight line,” Kornick said. “We look at habitats. We look at different sensitivities. Primarily, we need to look at safety.”

In the face of resistance from some Carbon residents, Kornick said, “there are always going to be people who oppose infrastructure development.”

“Every time somebody turns up the furnace, takes a warm shower, flips on the lights, charges a mobile phone or turns on the television, it is because natural gas helps make that possible. It literally fuels the quality of life for most people, including those opposing its development,” Kornick said.

Another point of contention for some is whether or not the gas transported by PennEast will actually stay in the states where the pipeline resides.

Kornick ensured that it will.

“It (the pipeline) is not - absolutely not - designed for export,” she said.

Barbara Green, president and CEO of Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton, is one local proponent of Penn-East’s pipeline.

The ski resort currently runs on electricity and propane that it trucks in, through which it powers things like the lights and chair lifts. The resort sees around 500,000 visitors each year.

“It’s a fairly large little town,” Green said.

Before she even learned of PennEast’s project, Green was looking to tap an already existing gas line located at the base of Blue Mountain.

PennEast’s interstate pipeline, Green said, “is probably the most efficient way for us to get our energy.”

“No one wants nuclear,” she said. “No one wants wind on my property. Sun’s not going to cut it, especially in Pennsylvania. … Currently, this is the only option that I know of.”

“I am committed to trying to figure out how to reduce the carbon footprint up at the mountain,” Green said. “I think that is doing more good for the whole neighborhood.”