News Release

June 1, 2016

For Immediate Release
Contact: Fiona Gettinger

CNA Releases Study on the Environmental Impact of Proposed Pipeline Projects on Delaware River Basin

Arlington, VA — Today, CNA released a report on the cumulative direct land cover impacts that eight proposed natural gas (and other petroleum products) transmission pipelines could have within the Delaware River Basin (DRB).

The study – using geographic information systems (GIS) methods to look at the impact that the construction of proposed pipeline projects and their rights-of-way would have on total land disturbance, loss of forest and wetland area, and stream crossings – found that for the DRB, overall, the projects would result in:  total land disturbance during pipeline construction of 2,977 acres (roughly 1,050 acres of forest, and 41 acres of wetlands); total land disturbance for permanent rights-of-way of 1,328 acres (roughly 440 acres of forest, and 22 acres of wetlands); and at least 175 stream crossings (92 of which could be shared with existing pipelines).

The report, titled Cumulative Land Cover Impacts of Proposed Transmission Pipelines in the Delaware River Basin, was prepared by CNA analysts Lars Hanson and Steven Habicht, Ph.D. and funded by the Clean Air Council.

According to the report the most significant impact of the pipelines, with respect to forest and wetland disturbance, and stream crossings, will occur in the DRB’s Lehigh and Middle Delaware sub-basins – a concentration of impacts caused by the Diamond East, Leidy SE, and especially the PennEast pipeline project which accounts for 40–50 percent of the total land disturbance.

The study’s analysis of multiple pipeline projects simultaneously allows for easier detection of these types of concentrated impacts. It also presents typical information from pipeline environmental analyses in new and useful ways. For example, findings are detailed by pipeline, county, and subwatershed – offering a clearer picture of the potential scale of pipeline development on land cover across the Delaware River Basin, and providing stakeholders a more complete understanding of the impacts than they might receive when reviewing individual projects. The study also takes special care to validate GIS computations of the direct forest impact area using data from pipeline environmental analyses, and generate a refined estimate for total forest acreage impacted within in the DRB.

CNA is a nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. With nearly 700 scientists, analysts and professional staff, CNA takes a real-world approach to gathering data. Its one-of-a-kind field program places analysts on carriers and military bases, in squad rooms and classrooms, and working side-by-side with a wide array of government decision-makers around the world. In addition to defense-related matters for the U.S. Department of the Navy, CNA’s research portfolio includes criminal justice, homeland security, energy security, water resources, enterprise systems and data analysis, and education.

Note to writers and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as "CNA, a research organization in Arlington, VA."


Elizabeth Cutler
Sr Communications Specialist

John Stimpson
Communications Associate