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Franklin Township: Councilwoman and Task Force Discuss Potential Dangers of Proposed Gas Compressor Station

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SOMERSET, NJ - Councilwoman Rozalyn Sherman (Ward 2) and the Franklin Township Task Force held an informational session at Somerset Run alerting residents to the proposed gas compressor station scheduled to be constructed in town next year, by Williams/Transco.  

"Local citizens are alarmed about the potential dangers of a proposed natural gas compressor station in Franklin Township near Kendall Park and miles of pipeline under the Raritan Bay," Franklin Township Task Force member, Barbar Cuthbert said. "Efforts to fight for the safety and health of all of us will continue even though climate deniers run key agencies in Washington, FERC green-lights most pipeline projects, and Williams-Transco is a huge, well-funded company."

If the project is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC), the Northeast Supply Enhancement project will consist of approximately 10 miles of 42-inch pipeline looping facilities in Pennsylvania, three miles of onshore 26-inch looping facilities in New Jersey, 23 miles of offshore 26-inch looping facilities, the addition of 21,902 horsepower at an existing compressor station in Pennsylvania; a new 32,000 horsepower compressor station in Franklin, N.J.; and related appurtenant facilities, according to a statement from Williams/Transco. 

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The purpose of the project is to supply more natural gas to customers in New York City and Long Island. National Grid, who asked Williams for the loop to bring more natural gas into the region, serves those people.

“Customers and businesses in the local communities that we serve in New York City and on Long Island benefit from affordable, clean and reliable energy,” President of National Grid New York, Ken Daly said in a statement earlier this year. 

During the meeting, the Franklin Township Task Force (FTTF) discussed why they oppose the project and told attendees what they can do to help if they also oppose the project. 

"Health hazards, environmental hazards, public safety hazards and not a thing in it for us," Sherman said. "We don't want to just say take it out of here and give this problem to someone else, we just want to stop this thing. I don't even know if we are going to be able to stop this in Franklin."

FTTF members expressed their concern regarding how the proposed compressor station will include two 50' tall smokestacks emitting exhaust at 210,000 cubic feet per minute at a temperature greater than 849 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the smokestacks. 

According to documents submitted by Williams and reviewed by the FTTF more than 132 tons of pollutants will be released in Franklin Township every year. 

Pediatrician, Dr. Curtis L. Nordgaard spoke at a community forum in Franklin earlier this year and warned of possible health risk associated with gas compressor stations. 

"Actual emissions of these chemicals from compressor stations are often de minimis, (i.e., below thresholds requiring chemical-specific analyses for permitting)," according to a report by Trinity Consultants of Texas. 

Local, county and state officials have shown their opposition to the gas compressor station by passing resolutions and filing as intervenors. 

According to the FERC website, an intervenor is “an official party to a proceeding and enjoys distinct advantages over those who only file comments.”

Intervenors have the right to participate in hearings before FERC's administrative law judges, file briefs and file for rehearing of a commission decision, according to the website.

Intervenors also have legal standing in a Court of Appeals if they challenge the commission's final decision on a matter and have the right to be placed on a service list to receive copies of case-related commission documents and filings by other intervenors.

Cuthbert said it's important to get as many people as possible registered as intervenors and sending letters to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) voicing opposition to the project, because the number of people speaking out will have an impact.

"We want to give you whatever you need to get the word out," Sherman said. "We'll take this road show and go anywhere."

According to documents from the FTTF, the site will sit between the Trap Rock Quarry, a Superfund Site with contaminated groundwater, and the NJ Buddhist Vihara & Meditation Center, the company, Williams-Transco, plans to construct Compressor Station 206 (CS206).

According to a website run by William, the site was selected because it minimizes potential impacts to residential areas as well as to environmental resources, such as wetlands and waterbodies. The facility is being designed to be situated with the majority of acreage left as a wooded buffer surrounding the station.

During the township council meeting earlier this week Councilman At-Large Rajiv Prasad said he learned Trap Rock Quarry will be converted into a reservoir in 2040, and expressed it should be cause for concern. 

The Franklin Township Task Force on Compressor Station 206 & NESE is supporting outreach activities, and they are seeking volunteers to lead teams and participate. The FTTF will supply handouts, talking points, petitions, etc.  

"Volunteers and financial support are needed by the Franklin Township Task Force as the permitting process is approaching key milestones," Cuthbert said. "Contact the Task Force at stopFTcompressor@yahoo.com to stay informed and be involved." 

Community members interested in helping can email to do any of the following:

Attend events and meetings:  distribute literature at meetings or at community events;  get signatures on petitions to collect names addresses and emails on sign-up sheets of those interested in the issues

Make calls:  to elected officials & to alert people about special events where their participation is needed – such as:  Hearings scheduled by NJDEP & FERC
Engage: on social media (Facebook / Twitter)
Write:  op-eds/letters to the editor of Franklin online news sites and other news media; make signs
Speak:  to groups such as local clubs & homeowner associations about this opposition
Recruit: new members of the task force
Fundraise:  (in coordination with other groups) 
Organize:  plan & run locally-based discussion groups to generate specific actions, participants at political and other prominent events, communication with legislators & candidates, and/or outreach to County Dept. of Health to ask them to hold a Health Forum with the goal of requiring a Health Impact Assessment
Outreach: We want to reach out to local groups to increase awareness and engagement about the proposed Compressor Station 206.   

 

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