With permitting deadline weeks away, groups call for Governor to reject fossil fuel project
May 2, 2019
TRENTON – Central Jersey residents joined statewide environmental leaders and community groups in Trenton to deliver 10,000 petition signatures calling on Governor Phil Murphy to oppose the fracked gas pipeline proposed for Old Bridge and Raritan Bay, and an accompanying compressor station in Franklin Township.
“This proposal threatens the health of the Raritan Bay, intensifies air pollution problems for central Jersey communities, and directly undermines the Governor’s vision for a clean energy future for New Jersey,” said Food & Water Watch organizer Junior Romero. “Governor Murphy should stand up for the communities that would be harmed and reject this dirty energy project.”
“The DEP must protect the public and the environment by denying Transco’s permits for the NESE project. This project will do irreparable harm to the environment and release toxic chemicals to our water. The Northeast Enhancement Project would cut through the already polluted and sensitive Raritan Bay and the New York Bay. It could carry and release contaminated stormwater and sediment into the environment and both bodies of water and disturb contaminated sites. It could also harm our fisheries and the ecology of the Bay. This project cannot meet the 401 Water Quality Certificate standards and the whole project must be denied,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “With this project, Transco makes the money, Long Island gets the gas, and we get stuck with a pipeline and pollution for the compressor station.”
“This project threatens the public health and environment of the Bayshore area without offering any conceivable benefit,” said Peter Blair, Policy Attorney at Clean Ocean Action. “This is an insult to the Raritan Bay which at long last is improving and enjoying a renascence after decades of abuse. Research is showing signs of steady improvements to water quality and surface sediments. Projects to restore oysters are underway. Whales, seals, and hundreds of other species are enjoying these waters. Nasty NESE puts all that at risk and will set us back decades in terms of water quality.”
Ed Potosnak, executive director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said: “We are strongly opposed to the dangerous Transco project and urge the Governor to deny the pending permits. This project comes just before the release of the new Energy Master Plan and Governor Murphy’s goal to create a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The expansion of the Williams Transco pipeline will only lead to and increased dependence on fossil fuels and make it that much harder to achieve these necessary goals. New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is proud to be part of the Stop NESE & Compressor 206 Coalition. The grassroots & grasstops action of this group has ensured that Governor Murphy, the Department of Environmental Protection, and all of the state of New Jersey knows about this project and how individual action can build into a movement.”
“It is important for NJDEP to strictly apply the protections provided by the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act to NESE. This is a project that does not benefit the public, does not meet NJ’s standards. Therefore it should be denied,” said Jim Waltman, Executive Director, The Watershed Institute.
Mike Castellano, Chair, New Jersey Surfrider Jersey Shore Chapter, urged the Governor and the NJDEP to reject the application and the entire project: “The Williams Pipeline is an unavailing and harmful expense that will have devastating impacts on water quality, habitat, and wildlife in New Jersey. Both shore and offshore areas along the pipeline route are used vastly by the public as recreational areas that contribute to our quality of life. We should be working towards lessening our dependence on fossil fuels and moving towards a more sustainable, greener future. The Surfrider Foundation’s Jersey Shore Chapter stands firmly against this pipeline and asks Governor Murphy and the NJDEP to do the same.”
Kin Gee, President of the citizen group CHARGE (Consumers Helping Affect Regulation of Gas & Electric), said: “Based on the fact that studies have proven there is an ample supply of gas to the area, we believe the pipeline project was filed under a pretext and represents a money grab by a large energy company.” Gee added that: ”Unfortunately, marine life, fishermen and clammers, and recreational users of the Raritan Bay could all become collateral damage when contaminated harmful muck is stirred up from the dredging operation.”