Government

Franklin Township: State Resolution Opposes Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

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Assemblyman Joe Danielsen and Franklin Township Task Force Committee Member Linda Powell Credits: Malik Lyons
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Assemblyman Joe Danielsen with members from Franklin Township Task Force and Food and Water Watch Credits: Courtesy of Junior Romero
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FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - Assemblymen Joe Danielsen introduced resolution AR280, which would allow the New Jersey legislature to formally oppose the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE), according to release from NJ Sierra Club. 

"This issue is of paramount importance to me, and I have been working on opposition to the proposed compressor station for the last 18 months," Danielsen said.  

Resolution AR280 expresses concerns to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about the NESE project and urges consideration of alternative projects that serve a similar purpose, according to release. 

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The NESE project includes plans for building a 32,000 horsepower gas powered compressor station and miles of pipeline under the Raritan Bay to increase the gas supply to residents outside of New Jersey.

Williams, who runs the pipeline from the Gulf of Mexico to New York, is looking to expand its operation with a loop that would end up supplying 1.8 million people in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island in New York City.

National Grid, who asked Williams for the loop to bring more natural gas into the region, serves those people. 

Pending regulatory approval, Transco anticipates having the Somerset County station and related project components in Pennsylvania and New York State operational by the end of 2019.

“It’s important that the Legislature stand up to FERC and officially oppose this project that threatens Somerset and Middlesex Counties, as well as the Raritan Bay," Jeff Tittle, director of NJ Sierra Club said. "The compressor station and pipeline are both dangerous and unneeded and to beat the project we must oppose both. Transco’s NESE project is meant to ship gas out of state to Long Island; it would have no benefit to the people of New Jersey."

Pending regulatory approval, Transco anticipates having the Somerset County station and related project components in Pennsylvania and New York State operational by the end of 2019.

In Franklin Township, the concerns are shared by state and county officials from both major parties, Danielsen is a democrat and Freeholder Brian D. Levine, a former Franklin mayor is a republican, and yet they both being Franklin residents are concerned with the project. 

Danielson attended the Middlesex County and Somerset County Freeholder's meetings in April to hear concerns of residents and to inform freeholder's from both counties about Compressor Station 206.

"I spoke to several of them and asked them to personally and individually register as intervenors," Danielson said to the township council at their April 25 meeting. "Not necessarily to state a position, but to give them the opportunity to raise concerns and questions, and there is a mountain of concerns and questions that need to be resolved. So thank you for being the leaders of the pack, and may I also say when both counties, said they were going to do it [intervene] they said they were going to join Franklin and then they listed everybody else. So they recognized that Franklin was a leader and took a position early on, and I am proud to be with you."

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. 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.

“By intervening in Transco’s application we are serving the public’s best interests,” Freeholder Brian D. Levine, a former Franklin mayor said during the April 25 freeholder's meeting. “This will give us a seat at the table so that we can keep abreast of the proceedings.”

Local government officials from Franklin Township, Montgomery, and South Brunswick have filed as intervenors and expressed opposition to the construction and operation of station 206 in recent months. Officials and residents have expressed health, environmental, and safety concerns associated with the project. 

"The Franklin Township Task Force (FTTF) thanks, Assemblyman Danielsen and appreciates his ongoing support in our efforts to protect the health and safety of residents," Linda Powell FTTF steering committee member said. "We hope other assembly people will support resolution AR280. We welcome people to join us at our monthly meetings the 4th Thursday of the month at 7 pm in the council chambers at the Franklin Township municipal building."

"Food & Water Watch supporters in Franklin Township and around the Raritan Bay are glad to see Assemblyman Danielsen's leadership in introducing this resolution regarding the fracked gas project," Junior Romero, Food and Water Watch, organizer said. "Although the bill language is not yet finalized, we hope AR 280 will call for complete opposition to both the compressor and pipeline, and set a precedent for future dirty energy projects in NJ."

"We want to thank Assemblyman Danielsen for getting this resolution listed and working with us on this important issues. We appreciate his strong commitment to stopping the pipeline and compressor station," Tittle said. 

According to a release from Williams researchers at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy estimate "the design and construction of the Northeast Supply Enhancement project will generate approximately $327 million in additional economic activity (GDP) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. In addition, the project will directly and indirectly generate 3,186 jobs during the one-year construction period, resulting in an estimated $234 million in labor income."

“This broad analysis conducted by Rutgers University researchers clearly shows the economic ripples that are created by such a significant investment in the region’s energy infrastructure,” said Phil Beachem, president of the NJ Alliance for Action. “Besides the clear environmental benefits of increased natural gas utilization, this project will offer an economic boost to the region by generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and supporting more than 3,000 good-paying jobs.”

The Rutgers University study was commissioned by Williams, which operates the Transco pipeline and currently transports about 50 percent of the natural gas consumed in New Jersey and New York City.

Details of the report can be found here

Editor's note: Comments from Food and Water Watch have been added to article since original publication. 

Related Articles:

Franklin Township: Middlesex County Freeholders Decide to Intervene on Williams/Transo Gas Compressor Station

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

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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