DELAWARE TWP., N.J. - Tom Malinowski, the Democrat who hopes in November to defeat Rep. Leonard Lance to represent New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District, met with Hunterdon property owners affected by the construction of the PennEast pipeline this week.
He also toured sites that he said are at risk of “grave ecological damage should plans for the pipeline proceed.”
PennEast has been a priority issue for Malinowski since before he received the Democratic nomination. He attended protests against pipeline construction as early as January.
Malinowski toured Jacqueline Evans’ farm, where the PennEast Pipeline is being planned to go through her driveway and would involve tearing down several white oaks. If granted eminent domain, PennEast would pay Evans $14,000 for the property and disruption.
Malinowski then hosted a round table to discuss the impact of the pipeline and efforts to stop its construction. About 15 participated, most of whom were property and farm owners who would impacted by the construction.
Stockton and Alexandria officials also attended.
Angele Switzler said the pipeline would run between her house and her backyard, and for a half-mile along the whole length of her property.
Vince DiBianca said there are three fault lines at the end of his driveway, but none appear on the PennEast map. The pipeline is set to run through all three and into a stream that feeds the water basin for the area.
Malinowski said the pipeline approval process “exists to grant unnecessary pipelines.”
There is currently a case under consideration of whether to grant eminent domain, surveying domain, or no rights to PennEast. The decision was supposed to come in May but has been delayed since. The judge of the case unexpectedly allowed all the homeowners involved to testify before the court.
After FERC approved the pipeline, homeowners entered a case in the D.C. Federal Court of Appeals.
Malinowski and some local officials also toured the Suez dam, which holds back a reservoir from flooding Lambertville and where the pipeline is planned to be constructed nearby.
Malinowski also visited Dalia Hoffman’s home, where the proposed pipeline construction would require 100-year-old trees to be knocked down.
“If I’m elected, I will not only be a strong voice against this pipeline but I will look into the system and process of how pipelines like this are getting approved in the first place,” Malinowski said.