WYALUSING, PA (March 21, 2022) - PennFuture, Clean Air Council, and Sierra Club obtained a settlement on March 18 that halts construction of the proposed Bradford County Real Estate Partners (BCREP) liquified natural gas (LNG) plant in Wyalusing Township, Bradford County, and requires the applicant to obtain a new air quality permit should it wish to continue with this proposed project.
The proposed facility is part of an interstate LNG export scheme that would take fracked gas from Pennsylvania, compress it into LNG, then truck or train it across communities in Pennsylvania to be loaded onto ships at a proposed terminal in Gibbstown, New Jersey, before being shipped to overseas markets. If built, the Wyalusing plant would have been allowed to emit more than a million tons of climate-polluting greenhouse gases every year, as well as hundreds of tons of noxious air pollutants that would have impacted the local community.
The Wyalusing and Gibbstown facilities are part of a logistically and financially connected LNG export process contemplated by New Fortress Energy. PennFuture and Sierra Club have also objected to a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that seeks to bifurcate this scheme, thereby evading FERC oversight. BCREP is a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy.
In challenging the air quality permit extension, the groups objected on the grounds that BCREP had not commenced construction at the Wyalusing facility as required by law, making DEP’s extension unjustified. The groups also objected on the grounds that this second extension authorized the use of an outdated and inappropriate pollution control technology, that DEP set air pollution limits too high, and several other deficiencies spelled out in the Notice of Appeal.
The parties agreed that BCREP will not move forward with construction under its current air pollution permit, and will allow the permit to expire on July 22, 2022. In return, the environmental advocacy organizations will end their appeal of a second extension of the air pollution permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. If BCREP wants to build this LNG facility, it is required under the settlement to seek a new air pollution permit from DEP.
“This settlement is a win for the local community and all Pennsylvanians,” said PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo. “We will not allow international petrochemical companies to destroy our clean air and pure water and we will hold Commonwealth agencies accountable for protecting our environment and each of our environmental rights under Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Likewise we will not stand idly by as these same corporations push questionable projects that rely not only on a casual approach to permitting, but will also require massive subsidies funded by Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.”
“Our litigation showed that DEP cannot rubber stamp petrochemical facilities in Pennsylvania. We will continue to fight to protect our communities from the harmful air and water quality impacts facilities like this proposed LNG plant have, ensuring that DEP applies stringent environmental protections and limitations on facilities and denies those permits that do not comply with the law,” said Jessica R. O’Neill, PennFuture Senior Attorney.
“This settlement is a great victory for Bradford County and for Pennsylvania,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council. “An unlawfully issued permit for a dangerous facility is being set aside, and residents can breathe easier as a result.”
"Fracked gas poisons our communities and exacerbates the climate crisis by spreading pollution and degradation,” said Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative Kelsey Krepps. “This is a win for our communities who continue to be exploited by polluters lining their own pockets at the expense of the public.”
PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. Visit www.pennfuture.org.
Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone's right to a healthy environment. The Council has offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilmington, and works through public education, community advocacy, and government oversight to ensure enforcement of environmental laws. For more information, please visit www.cleanair.org.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.