PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Columbia Gas Sues State College Over Pipeline

The downtown pipeline saga continues, as it came out yesterday that Columbia Gas filed a civil lawsuit against State College and Borough Manager Tom Fountaine for refusing to issue a permit to begin construction on Penn State’s pipeline project.

For those of you who haven’t been following along, here’s a quick rundown: Penn State needs to upgrade the West Campus Steam Plant to natural gas. In order to do so, the university needs to build a high-pressure pipeline from the East side of campus to the West side. Because the ground under campus is too elaborate with other pipes and tunnels, the plan was to build the pipeline through parts of downtown State College, including residential areas. Residents were understandably pissed off, motivated by safety issues and potential property value decline, and made sure Borough Council knew it during the public comment hour at recent meetings. Council decided to deny Columbia Gas a building permit, but because state law dictates energy issues, the Borough would likely lose a court battle on the issue and the prudence of denying a permit was questioned. Columbia Gas wasn’t happy, but Penn State asked the company to reevaluate the campus underground to see if the project might be feasible.

That’s where we are now. No one is happy — Columbia Gas even wrote a grumpy letter about their displeasure to Council — and everyone is unsure of what will happen next, but Columbia Gas has officially taken the matter to court, despite being asked to reconsider the campus route.

Columbia Gas called the Borough’s denial “arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and against applicable law” in the lawsuit. The company has agreed to put the legal proceedings on hold until it reevaluates the campus route.

Borough Council issued this statement after the initial media report from the CDT was posted.

“Council and staff understand that the public is extremely concerned about the natural gas pipeline,” officials wrote in the statement. “Concerns about public safety and the need for transparency in decisions that affect the health, safety and welfare of the community have been heard by council, and the borough is fully committed to defending its position in not permitting this pipeline installation through residential neighborhoods.”

Penn State also issued a statement inspired by the lawsuit, saying that the university is committed to exploring all options.

“We have asked Columbia to re-evaluate routes that keep this line on campus if it is practical,” said Ford Stryker, associate vice president for the Office of Physical Plant. “This is a very complex undertaking, but we anticipate that the evaluation will be completed by the middle of July.”

We’ll be sure to keep you posted after the next episode of Townies vs. Penn State.

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


More by Kevin

Hometown Brewery Releases Beer Honoring Evan Pugh

Penn State’s first president Evan Pugh was born in 1828 at Jordan Bank Farm, three miles south of the city center of Oxford, Pennsylvania, an hour west of Philadelphia in Chester County. One-hundred eighty-nine years later, an Oxford brewery is honoring one of the preeminent champions of “liberal and practical” higher education in the form of a delicious Porter.

Penn State Basketball Downs Colgate 72-59 In Front of Thanksgiving Eve Crowd

Why Honoring Paterno Still Matters


Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions won’t play a single home match in September, electing to test themselves against teams like Stanford and Oregon early in the season.

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

Student Life

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Penn State Names Guadagnino Vice President For Administration

Guadagnino will continue to provide legal advice as associate general counsel in addition to his duties as vice president.

As Disciplinary Hearing Opens, Expert Says Baldwin Failed To Properly Represent Ex-Penn State Administrators

A Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board hearing began on Tuesday in Pittsburgh for former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, who is accused of violating rules of professional conduct in her representation of former university administrators during the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend