Government

Franklin Township: Council Offers More Assistance to Gas Compressor Opposition Group

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Drew Cuthbert raising awareness on New Street Credits: Malik Lyons
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Carol Kuehn addressing the mayor and council Credits: Malik Lyons
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FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Franklin Township Task Force which opposes the construction and operation of the proposed gas compressor station asked for and received more help from local officials at Tuesday's council meeting. 

The Economic Development Office, Engineering Department, Fire Prevention Department, Construction Department, Office of Emergency Management and Police Department all filed as intervenors.

"An intervenor is a person who reserves the right to object to a pipeline/compressor and to FERC's decisions," according to the RAC website. "An intervenor can also participate in (or bring) legal proceedings involving FERC and Transco. They are also accorded elevated attention in FERC's decision-making process and final decision, and intervenor comments must be addressed in FERC's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and decisions." 

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Local officials and community members are filing as intervenors to oppose the filing of the formal application for the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project. The project includes plans for building miles of pipeline under the Raritan Bay to increase the gas supply to residents outside of New Jersey. Also included in the project plans is a 32,000 gas powered compressor station that will feature two 50-foot gas turbine stacks.

"Members of Franklin Township Task Force would like to extend our appreciation to these departments for taking action, and we would like to encourage others to follow their lead, Franklin Township Task Force Steering Committee Carol Kuehn said. "We would also like to thank the mayor, council members and other township officials who individually registered as intervenors and strongly appeal to those who have not yet done so." 

FTTF's goal is to get at least 2,000 people to sign up as intervenors and to provide comments to FERC by the April 27 deadline. Comments made will impact the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) which is a tool used in the decision-making process for projects that will have an impact on the community. 

The township also has information on how to file as an intervenor.

Related article:

Franklin Township Task Force Holds Meeting to Brainstorm on Opposition to Gas Compressor Station

"Right now we have about 500 people signed up to be intervenors, if we can get to 2,000 that would make Williams stop and think about how much effort they are going to have to go through," FTTF member Kristen Errickson said. "In the past, I think other companies have withdrawn applications if there have been 1,600  people, Chesterfield I think they had 1,200, but basically we don't have enough people that are signing up to be intervenors so we need to get the word out and we need your help doing it."

"I would like our town to fight, and I don't feel it yet," Patricia Burton Pillsbury a retired Franklin Township public school teacher said. "I see a small group of volunteers trying to get to everybody and they just can't so they need your help, they need your support. I don't know what it is going to take, but Mayor Kramer I need you to stand up for us. I mean I've done my little Tweets to Menendez and Booker telling them about what's going on here, but somehow we gotta get something big started. 

"We have a lot of events coming up, we have a lot of churches represented here. I have seen big changes in this town, Rev. Soaries he's done a lot, I've seen it. 

"We need to get people to understand how important this is, for our future, for our children. So please I am begging you, they (the FTTF) don't even have money to continue, to print out flyers. They can go to meetings and go to events and give out flyers, but they don't have that money, they don't have a banner, they don't have anything. So I need you to step up and I am counting on you. 

"I know you are in this job because you are public servants just like I was. I know your hearts are in it, so let's save Franklin Township from this gas company. Let's not have this happen to us."

Mayor Kramer announced he signed up as an intervenor during the council comment portion of the meeting, and Councilwoman At-Large Kimberly Francois raised the issue of how some concerned citizens may not have the resources and technical know how to file their comments electronically. 

"If there is a mail-in form that could be printed out and people can go door to door, it sounds like the process would be a little less cumbersome as far as getting the word out," Francois said. "If there is something like that in place of going online and doing the three steps to make it a little bit easier for some people that are not computer savvy we probably could get to more people by passing out those forms."

James Vassanella (Ward-5) raised the issue of getting the FTTF printing materials to help them spread the word. 

"We may be a large township and people may think they will not be affected because something is pretty far away for a lot of us, but it's going to affect your lives," Vassanella said. "We commend everyone that's helping and it's nice to see people coming from every corner of the town to help."

Councilman At-Large Rajiv Prasad also encouraged the FTTF to keep up their efforts and thanked a local resident who held an intervenor workshop at his home.

Transco delivers natural gas to customers through its 10,200-mile pipeline network whose mainline extends nearly 1,800 miles between South Texas and New York City. The system is a major provider of cost-effective natural gas services that reach U.S. markets in 12 Southeast and Atlantic Seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

More info about the project can be found at www.northeastsupplyenhancement.com.

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