The Timeline So Far – October 10, 2012 – May 3, 2013

The timeline of key dates, meeting locations, participants and documents is finally coming together. For correspondents’ job titles, please see the “Who’s Who” section at the Right-to-Know page.

October 10, 2012 – Private pipeline presentation to Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, by Ford Stryker, David Gray and Madeline Cantu.  Time/Location: 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 208 Old Main, University Park. (A PowerPoint presentation exists and was attached to an October 11 email from Madeline Cantu to Elizabeth Goreham, but was not available in the Borough laptop right-to-know files as of April 30.) Document source: hard copies of planning and follow-up emails.

  • Madeline Cantu Email – “Mayor Goreham, Thank you for taking the time to meet with David, Ford and I yesterday to discuss the modifications to the West Campus Steam Plant. It was a pleasure to meet you. Please find the attached Powerpoint slides that you saw at our  meeting for your use. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of further assistance with graphic materials (handouts, larger-scale printouts) that may help you communicate the details of this project. Regards, Maddy”

October 25, 2012 – Pipeline presentation to audience of 18 residents, by six Penn State representatives and three Columbia Gas representatives. Present: Mark Whitfield, Sarah Klinetob. Notice dated October 19 provided by regular mail to abutting residents. Time/Location: 6:30 p.m., Room 201, Borough Building. Document source: agenda planning emails, hard copy of Oct. 19 notice plus attached recipient address list, Powerpoint slides with no mention of decision-making process, pipeline diameter, pressure or type (transmission).

November 9, 2012 – Town-Gown Meeting – Pipeline Presentation by PSU administrators to Borough Council, Mayor and Borough Manager. Time/Location: 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Beaver Room at the Hotel State College. Document source: agenda planning emails

Excerpts:

  • November 5 – Donna Newburg to Sharon Ergler: “Do you have a proposed agenda for the subject meeting? The following are the Penn State representatives planning on attending the meeting: David Gray, Sr. Vice President for Finance & Business; Dan Sieminski, Associate Vice President for Finance & Business; Gail Hurley, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary & Business Services; Mike DiRaimo, Special Assistant to the President for Governmental Affairs; Ford Stryker, Associate Vice President for Physical Plant.
  • November 5 – Elizabeth Goreham “4. Anything further to discuss regarding Pipeline? Where should citizens direct future questions/comments.”
  • November 5 – Tom Fountaine: “PSU has this on the agenda. That is why Ford is attending the meeting.”
  • November 6 – Elizabeth Goreham: “The Pipeline presentation and discussion will take up much of the time.  So we need to keep the agenda simple.”
  • November 6 – Elizabeth Goreham: “Presentation of PSU/Columbia Gas project to convert Steam Power Plant on Burrowes to natural gas; pipeline to be laid in State College Borough”
  • November 7 – Tom Fountaine: “I have not seen [the final agenda] yet, but I know the university will provide a presentation on the natural gas project.”

November 16, 2012 – PSU Board of Trustees Meeting – 1:30 p.m., Boardroom, Nittany Lion Inn. Source: online meeting minutes:

“Reports from Standing Committees, Section C, Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning

WHEREAS, The Board of Trustees wish to convert the West Campus Steam Plant from burning coal to gas,

RESOLVED, That the final plans for the West Campus Steam Plant Modifications, University Park, as designed by the firm of Burns and McDonnell of St. Louis, Missouri, are approved.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED, That authorization to enter into a thirty year contract with Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. to provide natural gas service to the West Campus Steam Plant be approved.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED, That authorization to award contracts to modify the West Campus Steam Plant and to ensure the appropriate supply of natural gas be approved at a cost of $48,300,000.”

November 19, 2012 – State College Borough Council approves Ordinance 2005, laying out the municipality’s authority to impose reasonable restrictions on activities conducted in the public rights-of-way, and permit application procedures. Document source: online in the Nov. 19, 2012 Council meeting minutes, pages 23-45.

February 26, 2013 – Notice of planned project received by Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission from Columbia Gas. Document source: 3.22.13 Kocher to Watt Email

March 12, 2013 – Pipeline presentation to residents, 6:30 p.m., Room 201 Borough Building. Notice dated February 27, provided by regular mail to abutting residences. Document source: hard copy of Feb. 27 letter, plus recipient address list.

March 15, 2013 – Johan Zwart presentation to PSU Board of Trustees, Harrisburg. Document source: electronic copy of remarks.

March 18, 2013 – Columbia Gas permit application to Borough of State College. Document source: electronic copy of permit application.

March 18, 2013 – State College Borough Council Meeting. Concerned residents speak up.

March 19, 2013 – Construction Manager Anthony J. Sulkowski meeting with representatives of Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. Document source: 3.15.13 Sulkowski to Kerner Email.

April 1, 2013 – State College Borough Council Meeting. Concerned residents speak up. Borough Council unanimously adopts resolution directing Borough Manager not to approve any permit. Document source: resolution attached to April 11 Borough Manager letter.

April 11, 2013 – State College Borough Manager letter to Columbia Gas announcing that the permit will not be issued. Document source: electronic copy of letter.

April 30, 2013 – Columbia Gas letter to Borough requesting permit withdrawal and Borough Council resolution rescind; outlining legal challenge. Document source: electronic copy of letter.

May 3, 2013 – Borough Council and Borough Manager release public statement affirming commitment to protecting residents’ health, safety and welfare, and limiting additional comment due to “potential threat of future litigation.” Document source: electronic copy of statement.

——————————————-

Editor’s Note:

I won’t be doing much more close reading of public documents for analysis, formatting and posting, or much more retrieval of additional public documents for now, because I think we’ve got a solid grasp of the timeline at last, and because – given the Borough’s strong public statement yesterday – the next developments depend more on Columbia Gas’ and Penn State’s future choices than anything else.

If any readers want copies of any of the additional materials I’ve collected, please let me know – I’m happy to share.

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