Franklin Township: Middlesex Freeholders Refuse To Rebuke Williams Gas Compressor Plan

New Jersey Sierra Club Member Addressing Board Credits: Malik Lyons
Franklin Resident Addressing Board Credits: Malik Lyons
Franklin Township Task Force Steering Committee member Credits: Malik Lyons
Patty Cronheim Credits: Malik Lyons
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Freeholder Meeting Credits: Malik Lyons
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Freeholder Meeting Credits: Malik Lyons
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Freeholder Meeting Credits: Malik Lyons
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Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Despite packing the seats at the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting Thursday night, residents of Franklin Township and surrounding towns were not able to convince the panel to pass a resolution opposing a controversial natural gas compressor station plan.

"I will not put up a resolution in favor or against this compressor," Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said. "The committee goes through the chair which is me and as I stated before we will not put up a vote for a resolution in favor or against the compressor station."

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The exchange between Republican Middlesex Freeholder candidate Mina Kolta and Rios can be seen below. 

Williams/Transco filed their formal application on March 27, and once complete, the project will help meet the growing natural gas demand in the Northeast, including the 1.8 million customers served by National Grid in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, according to a statement from Williams/Transco. 

If the project is approved by 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. 

“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. 

Close to 20 different individuals addressed the board expressing their concerns about property values, health implications, and environmental issues that could be associated with the construction and operation of gas compressor station 206, which is slated to be built in Franklin Township, near Trap Rock Quarry off route 27.

Junior Romero and members from various opposition groups conducted a 30-minute presentation to the board on April 6, in hopes to convince them to pass resolutions and to become intervenors like Franklin, Montgomery, and South Brunswick have done in recent months. 

Romero emailed the board saying the following, "this compressor station will only pressurize more gas through the 50-year-old gas pipelines under Middlesex and Somerset Counties, posing dangers like the 1994 Edison gas pipeline explosion that left over 100 people homeless, that we can avoid; this is aside from NJ serving as a mere transport hub for gas traveling to NYC consumers, at the safety expense of NJ residents; aside from the ecological danger to the Rarity Bay; aside from the increase in dependency on fracked gas; and aside from the dangerous exhausts local residents (including youth) will ingest  at the expense of this company's project."

An intervenor is a stakeholder, such as a resident, organization, or government entity that can have their concerns/comments heard by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

An intervenor's comments receive 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.  

Romero urges the board to file as intervenors because the deadline to file is April 27. 

Two candidates running for district 17 also addressed the board to express their concerns: 

Daryl Kipnis discusses how there is no benefit to the district if the compressor station is built. 

Nadine Wilkins requests a board of health hearing to discuss implications of a gas compressor station. 

"Your participation in this issue is critical," Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, D-17, said at a forum in February. "I am also concerned that people making a profit are not from Franklin people conducting this business are not from Franklin, and the product that is being transported is not even being used by the people of Franklin. I am born and raised in Franklin the youngest of nine children and if it is not Franklin first it should not happen. God bless you all." 

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

Related Articles:

What to Know about the Proposed 32,000 Gas Powered Compressor Station Coming to Franklin Township

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

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

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