EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Questions and concerns are being raised about a proposed expansion of a natural gas pipeline from NEPA’s Marcellus Shale production region into New Jersey.

The proposed project will extend through seven PA counties, including two in our coverage area.

The Regional Energy Access Expansion Project was the focus of a virtual public hearing hosted by the Department of Enverionmental Protection Wednesday night.

It’s proposed by the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company, also known as “Transco,” a subsidiary of the Williams Companies Incorporated.

“Part of the process of our work at the DEP is hearing from the public and understanding their concerns,” said Colleen Connolly, the DEP Community Relations Coordinator.

The proposed project intends to expand the existing Transco Pipeline which runs from Texas to New York City.

Doing so would add more than 40 miles of pipeline in Luzerne and Monroe counties.

“PADEP’s Regional Permit Coordination Office, or RPCO, is currently reviewing three permit applications by Transco for the pipeline project,” Colleen Connolly, DEP Community Relations Coordinator stated.

DEP has the authority to review and make decisions based on environmental regulations.

Dozens of people from all across the tri-state area tuned in to give testimonies.

“The burning of this additional gas will put additional greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, continuing to add on to the climate emergency,” Jessica O’Neil, Senior Attorney of “Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future” explained.

But they weren’t all negative.

“With the highest gas tax in the country, we all feel the pain at the pump the most in the country. Pennsylvanians deserve cheap, effective energy to foster a more affordable and inclusive commonwealth,” Pennsylvanian Resident, Matt Zupon commented.

If approved, Transco projects putting the expansion into service in 2024.