Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE THE GOVERNOR AND NEW JERSEY DEP TO REJECT DIRTY, UNNEEDED FOSSIL FUEL PROJECT
TRENTON – A coalition of environmental organizations and elected officials gathered at Raritan Valley Community College to rally against the unneeded Regional Energy Access Expansion (REAE) project and speak at a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) hearing in opposition to the proposed expansion of a natural gas compressor station in Branchburg, New Jersey.
The environmental coalition also sent a letter today to Governor Murphy and the DEP with 75 signatories across diverse interests, including the medical community, business interests, students, justice activists, environmental advocates, labor, and more asking them to reject the REAE project.
Williams Transco is proposing the construction and expansion of natural gas compressor stations in Branchburg, West Deptford, and Old Bridge. This unneeded project would expand the fossil fuel infrastructure in the Garden State, increasing the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 16%, and perpetuate the state’s dependance on dirty energy sources.
The project would also expose communities already overburdened by the impacts of climate change to a major source of air pollution as well as increased risk of leaks, fires, and explosions. The REAE project is being considered as the NJDEP hears public comment on the Cumulative Impacts law, which is designed to tackle environmental racism and consistent pollution in overburdened communities.
“We’re here today to urge the DEP to reject the expansion of a compressor station in Branchburg and to say no to the unneeded REAE. This proposal to burn even more dirty fossil fuel is an unnecessary health and public safety risk to families and businesses in the surrounding communities, many of whom have already been forced to bear the brunt of climate change and pollution,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “This project would negatively affect communities throughout the state and drastically increase pollution. We can’t continue to rely on pipelines and compressor stations that maintain our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. Expansion isn’t appropriate to meet our needs today and into the future, and approval would be a step in the wrong direction when it comes to the future of the state’s energy economy. New Jersey must instead continue to transition to renewable energy.”
“NJDEP must reject Williams’ toxic fossil fuel project. It will exacerbate climate change and impact the safety, health, and well-being of communities and the environment in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The REAE project will increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and, consequently, make it more difficult to advance clean renewable energy investments and for New Jersey to meet its GHG emission commitments,” said Taylor McFarland, Conservation Program Manager for Sierra Club, NJ. “It's critical that NJDEP consider the disastrous impacts that the REAE project will have and reject it!”
"This latest pipeline proposed by Williams Transco would deepen our dependence on dirty fracked gas amidst a climate emergency that's fueling deadly heat waves, catastrophic flooding, and extreme weather events like Superstorm Ida," said Matt Smith, NJ Director of Food & Water Watch. "If Governor Murphy is serious about his commitments to protect lives, livelihoods, and our economy from runaway climate catastrophe, he must stop this dirty, dangerous, and unnecessary pipeline project.”
The REAE project would lead to a projected 16% increase in greenhouse gas emissions for the state, a statistic that is diametrically opposed to New Jersey’s goal of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030. The negative impacts of the proposed expansion are even more drastic in light of a recent study commissioned by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) finding that the REAE is not necessary for the state’s energy supply, with current gas infrastructure being sufficient to meet demand through 2030, even during peak usage in cold winter weather.
"This fossil gas expansion project would significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions at a time when we must urgently reduce emissions to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis," said Tom Gilbert of NJ Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ. "The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has found that New Jersey has more than enough gas pipeline capacity, so New Jersey must firmly reject this unneeded, costly, polluting project."
Environmental groups celebrated a victory with the defeat of the PennEast pipeline, a grassroots effort they hope to repeat. The coalition opposed to REAE is planning to keep up the pressure with the goal of halting the project before it gets off the ground. Stopping approval of the compressor station in Branchburg is a first step.