As mentioned in PennEast SPAMS FERC preprinted postcards have been flooding the comment submissions.
The pre-printed postcards do have a place for people to include a real comment; however the majority of them do not bother. The postcards continue to flow into FERC.
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, PennEast has launched a copy/paste campaign which I have dubbed The Parrots of PennEast.
The campaign states there is a “sample” letter below and encourages supporters to “Simply cut and paste a comment to the FERC website.”
Someone did cut/paste the entire Parrot of PennEast campaign. Click to download FERC copy-paste 20150507-5193(30563229)
The purpose of the Parrots of PennEast campaign is to create the illusion of majority support for the pipeline and characterize the opposition as a minority.
While the ‘supporters’ of PennEast consist of pre-printed postcards and copy/paste letters, those of us who oppose the pipeline submit thoughtful, well researched and original comments.
Parrots Sing Same Song
The Parrots of PennEast is nothing more than an industry funded effort to create an echo chamber, where the same talking points are repeated. It also attempts to marginalize opposition with the label of “vocal opposition”, “vocal minority” or “vocal voices of a few”.
The April 2015 PennEast’s invitation only “open” houses for residents along the pipeline route did not go well. Majority of those attending had hard questions and concerns which PennEast ducked or stuck to their talking points.
Residents were hopeful that PennEast would address their questions individually, but a number of those who attended the private meetings said they were again treated with vague generalities and assurances. Company officials continue to display a lack of local geological expertise, critics claim.
“The meeting was supposed to be informational,” said Angele Switzler, of Delaware Township. “There was no new information; it was only a feeble attempt to frighten people into granting access to their property for survey purposes. It was the very same presentation that was given at the previous meeting in January.”
At that meeting, she said, she sat down with a representative and geotagged her property on Google Earth, putting markers on important structures such as her house, a solar array, a septic system, a 250 year-old oak tree, and a line of 21 year-old spruce trees.
When she checked with a representative at the invitation-only meeting to see if everything was still flagged, she discovered there was no house on the satellite image.
“The agent told me that they are using Google Earth and it did not have my house on it so I should let them survey,” Switzler said. “This is the kind of fear-and-lies tactic PennEast is using.”
PennEast’s response to the disappointing event was also feeble and kicks off the now often repeated refrain of vocal opposition”, “vocal minority” or “vocal voices of a few”.
The Parrots of PennEast cut/paste FERC comment features that characterization in the first sentence:
The vocal opposition of a few should not be generalized as the common opinion of many.
The Parrots of PennEast also asks that supporters “Please circulate this email to colleagues, family, friends or others who would like to support the PennEast Pipeline Project.” Presumably so colleagues, family, friends or others may also copy/paste the same.
Throwback to Nixon
“The vocal voices of a few should not be construed as the overall perception,” said Patricia Kornick, a PennEast spokeswoman.
Reminds me of a former President Richard M. Nixon’s Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam…the speech is now known as “The Silent Majority” speech.
“If a vocal minority, however fervent its cause, prevails over reason and the will of the majority, this Nation has no future as a free society.”
Like Nixon, PennEast assumes “the silent majority” supports the pipeline.
With 30 more communities, groups and school districts passing resolutions OPPOSING PennEast, and a decidedly majority of submitted comments OPPOSING PennEast, to characterize this as “vocal voices of a few” is ignoring that we are not few and certainly not a minority.
Overall the Parrots of PennEast campaign is a sign PennEast is afraid, very afraid. Support for the pipeline is not there. The spamming of FERC with pre-printed postcards, and using copy/paste letters is not support, its a manufactured illusion of support.
© 2015 by Dory Hippauf