FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ – The Committee opposing the Williams/Transco Compressor Station is scheduling a public forum at Sampson G. Smith School on Feb. 27 to give members of the public information on the controversial project.
Williams proposed the gas compressor station, to be built in Franklin Township off Route 27 near Trap Rock Quarry, which is an active blasting site and is less than a half mile from the Samadhi Buddha which was proclaimed a cultural landmark by the Township of Franklin mayor and council last week.
The site is also about a mile away from the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, where close to 600 school aged children play.
The proposed gas-powered compressor station is part of the Williams/Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE), which include plans for building 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.
The planned expansion and delivery of gas into the city is part of a plan to pivot those residents from oil and coal to the cleaner fossil fuel, company representatives said.
Station 206 would serve in the same manner as an electrical transformer station to propel the gas through the pipe, Williams representatives said.
"Monday's meeting about the proposed compressor station is an important opportunity for the families and businesses of Franklin Township and the surrounding communities to learn from experts about the dangers of these natural gas facilities," Executive Director of the NJ League of Conservation Voters Ed Potosnak said. "As parents, firefighters, and teachers learn more about the threats posed by the Transco compressor, they are growing increasingly concerned. I'm certain it will be a very educational discussion."
The forum will be hosted by the Ad Hoc Committee Opposing the Williams/Transco Compressor Station STA206 which was formally the Franklin Township Task Force Committee until they were appointed by the mayor and the Township of Franklin Council via resolution #17-54 last week.
Forum attendees will have the opportunity to learn about potential dangers posed to the health and safety of residents in an around the proposed gas compressor station, according to the committee.
The safety record of Williams/Transco will also be discussed in addition to concerns the committee has about a gas-powered station being built in an area where the quarry is involved in active blasting.
Residents will also learn how to get involved in efforts to stop the proposed compressor station during the forum.
Mayor Phillip Kramer will introduce all attending politicians and Ed Potosnak will moderate the event.
Guest speakers from Food and Water Watch, NJ Sierra Club, ReThink EnergyNJ, NY/NJ Baykeeper and state and local officials are also scheduled to be there.
“We have not been able to find any research on the impact of dynamite blasts in close proximity with compressors,” Committee Member Kirk Frost said in letter to the editor this month. “We could not find any details on this issue in Williams/Transco draft Resource Reports,. We have noticed that Williams/Transco subcontracts to other companies to fill in their Resource Reports. The risks of a high-powered compressor adjacent to a mining facility that routinely performs blasting is an issue that is barely touched upon and not fully addressed by either Williams/Transco or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).”
A week later Brian Ham, a Williams project manager, also submitted a letter to the editor to respond to the committee member.
“Although no quarry blasting will occur in close proximity to the station’s proposed location, a comprehensive engineering analysis will be conducted to ensure any potential issues are effectively mitigated in the station’s final engineering design," Ham’s letter said.
Although Franklin, South Brunswick and Montgomery townships passed resolutions opposing the project, it is not enough to stop it, according to the ad hoc committee.
Therefore, residents are encouraged to attend next week’s forum to hear information and decide for themselves if the proposed gas compressor station is something they want to oppose.
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