WEST CHESTER (January 23) – State Senator Andy Dinniman said today that it appears that Artesian Water and its attorneys are trying to subvert local residents’ rights to protest its application to expand service to an additional portion of New Garden Township.
Dinniman is one of more than 100 individuals who filed for official party of record or “intervener” status in the upcoming Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission proceedings on the application.
In turn, Artesian’s attorneys recently filed preliminary objections to the standing of numerous interveners including Dinniman and the Save Our Water group.
“This looks like the latest tactic in Artesian’s attempts to crush discussion on this issue,” Dinniman said. “Basically, their attorneys are trying to push us out of the case before it even goes forward. If Artesian wanted to be a good neighbor, its representatives would sit down for an honest discussion with local residents about their valid concerns regarding this project. Instead, they’ve employed legal muscle to try to silence us.”
Artesian Water is seeking to expand its public water service to several properties on Buttonwood, Broad Run and Newark roads in Landenberg, as well as nine other properties set for development.
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection granted Artesian the temporary right to drill at the site of its well located at Broad Run and Newark roads in Landenberg – property it purchased from the Wilkinson family several years ago. In the spring, Artesian conducted a 72-hour aquifer test at the well site, extracting more than 600,000 gallons of water from the well at a rate of 200 gallons per minute, to determine its capacity.
The new service area goes right up to the state line, raising residents’ concerns that Artesian is positioning itself to pump Pennsylvania water to its tens of thousands of customers in Delaware – something the company has expressed interest in doing in the past
Dinniman has filed a response to Artesian’s challenge, citing his position as a duly elected representative of New Garden and its residents, his official standing in prior cases before the PUC and experience and wealth of knowledge on environmental issues as a past member of the Chester County Conservation District and current member of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee.
He added that the water company’s legal objections were just the latest ploy in what seems like an ongoing effort to undermine the public’s right to weigh in on the issue.
“This is the same company that held its first ‘informational’ meeting in New Garden hours after the official public comment period was originally set to expire,” Dinniman said. “Then they further insulted the community by sending a representative who was unable to answer any scientific or engineering questions, which was the whole point of the meeting!”
“Artesian may be primarily a Delaware company, but they ought to know that this is not how to go about business in Chester County – especially for a company looking to profit off a natural resource that we all depend on,” he added. “As other utilities have learned, that type of approach just doesn’t work here. On matters of protecting natural resources and the environment, Chester County residents won’t be silenced. And we won’t be pushed around.”