January 2, 2013 —
A Facebook page was created by Milford Mayor Robert Fean to allow the public to become informed of the potential dangers at the site of the newly proposed Delaware Valley Elementary School if a gas pipeline were to be constructed near the site. The page is called Public Against School Site (PASS). Anyone can subscribe to it.
The growing opposition to the school’s location was sparked after the news of several pipeline explosions throughout the country, most recently with the Columbia Gas explosion occurring December 12 in West Virginia. According to numerous news reports, in that incident, four homes went up in flames and collapsed in ruin after a natural gas line exploded and fire raged for an hour, melting guardrails and pavement on a nearby highway.
Fean is opening up the issue in order to get support for those who are opposed to the new school site.
According to the Facebook page, PASS is a public group open to those who live or work in the Delaware Valley School District and are opposed to the positioning of the school.
The issue of the new school plan will come before the Borough of Milford Council meeting for approval. The 40-acre property, purchased for $1.7 million several years ago from the Biondo Group, has a 24-inch natural gas transmission line, operated by Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), running through it, which is expected to be upgraded to a class-three line once construction begins to upgrade the line.
“Putting a school in a dangerous spot like this is insane,” Fean said.
TGP officials say that the upgraded line will offer more protection against any accidents regarding the line.
“What they are failing to see is that the new pipe will connect to the old pipe 500 to 700 feet away from the new school structure,” said Jack O’Leary, a local opponent of the project.
The opposition to the pipeline is linked to the county’s battle to stop the Loop 323 line that will require a 7.1-mile loop across pristine land near Cummins Hill Road. County officials and citizens have stated that the company should use their existing right-of-way through the Delaware Water Gap National and Recreational Area (DWGN&RA).
The company, however, is reluctant to seek a permit for that from the National Park Service, which asserts that only the federal government can give such a permit. Rather than take on the federal government, TGP has chosen the 7.1-mile loop that has been approved already by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.