Green

Press Releases

Proposed Federal Legislation would Fast-Track Pipeline Approvals, Jeopardize Health and Safety

da8cc4fb54e43877384c_hillspixstonybrookmillstonewatershedlogo.jpg
da8cc4fb54e43877384c_hillspixstonybrookmillstonewatershedlogo.jpg

 

FAR HILLS, NJ - Legislation proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives would give more authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the expense of the more detailed environmental reviews that other federal and state agencies are required to conduct for pipeline applications, according to an attorney for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Stony Brook–Millstone  Watershed Association.

The proposed amendments to the Natural Gas Act, heard Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, “would create unnecessary chaos and upset the careful balance of cooperative federalism,” testified Jennifer Danis, senior staff attorney, Eastern Environmental Law Center.

“The proposed changes would undermine states’ rights by inappropriately expanding FERC’s Natural Gas Act authority. The proposal would interfere with federal and state agencies’ ability to protect natural resources for the public,” she added.

Sign Up for E-News

“As the need increases to more carefully review whether new pipelines are required to meet energy demands, let alone whether they are safe, Congress threatens to speed up the process and favor fossil fuel producers over the public’s health and safety,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, NJ Conservation and ReThink Energy NJ.

“This legislation would remove safeguards in the pipeline permitting process.  Apparently, FERC’s track record of approving more than 90 percent of applications within one year is not fast enough. This bill seeks to rush approval by undermining environmental agency review and trampling over states’ rights,” said Jim Waltman, executive director, SBMWA.

The hearing came weeks after FERC’s failure to comprehensively assess potential damage from the proposed PennEast pipeline in New Jersey and Pennsylvania once again revealed the Commission’s cursory and inadequate review. FERC approved a final Environmental Impact Statement for PennEast despite the glaring lack of data and incompleteness of its application.

In her testimony, Danis said FERC “employs an extraordinarily narrow interpretation of its regulatory role.”

She noted that if an applicant says a proposed pipeline is needed, FERC doesn’t assess the claim’s validity, adding, “the only alternatives FERC will consider to natural gas transmission pipelines are other natural gas transmission pipelines.”

Under the proposed legislation, and in violation of the existing balance of power between the Natural Gas Act and substantive environmental statutes like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, FERC would be allowed to police other agencies’ independent reviews for pipeline applications, instead of leaving the scope and substance to those agencies’ discretion.

The role of other agencies is especially important because FERC “routinely accepts applications that are missing basic information and analyses required under FERC’s own environmental review regulations,” Danis testified.  “FERC is not the environmental agency charged with protecting water and air quality.”

The legislation would also require federal and state agencies reviewing pipeline applications to make a decision within 90 days, without explicitly ensuring that those agencies retain the right to determine the scope, depth, and timing of their review. Meanwhile, applicants would not be required to produce the necessary environmental data for agencies to make informed decisions about a proposed pipeline’s potential impacts.

“The bottom line is that legislation whose supporters say it will more effectively resolve conflicts among regulatory agencies would promote conflict and stifle responsible action,” said Danis.

Danis’ written testimony can be found here: http://rethinkenergynj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/J.Danis_EELC_Testimony_Oral_Statement_050317.pdf  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

New Jersey Heroes Honored for Saving Lives

June 18, 2018

Thirty-eight individuals and organizations in New Jersey were recently honored at the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association 2018 New Jersey American Heartsavers and Stroke Heroes Awards for their life-saving efforts. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s American Heartsavers and Stroke Heroes Awards is held annually to commend individuals, ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

June 14, 2018

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Dozens of Highland Park Residents Rally Against Recent ICE Detainment of Neighbor, Father of 4

Dozens of community members rallied in front of The Reformed Church of Highland Park on Friday afternoon to voice their opposition towards the recent detainment of local resident Cloyd Edralin by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The rally was planned just four days after Edralin, 47, a green card holder from the Philippines and father to four children who are U.S. citizens, was ...

Hillsborough teacher charged with ‘sexual conduct’ with student

NEW BRUNSWICK - A Plainsboro man and tenured English teacher at Hillsboro High School was being held in the Middlesex County jail today on charges of having improper contact with a 17-year-old student that occurred over a period of five months, authorities said today.

Kenneth Shindle, 27, is charged with one count of engaging in sexual conduct that would impair or debauch the morals of the ...

$200K Police Settlement a 'Total Disgrace,' Reiner Says

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A recent TAPinto report that $200,000 was paid to a former township man after he filed a federal suit alleging excessive force by police here prompted a passionate defense of township police by Committeeman Louis Carl Reiner at last night’s Township Committee meeting.

The suit was filed by Dennis Shuman against the township Police Department and several of its ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

June 14, 2018

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Dozens of Highland Park Residents Rally Against Recent ICE Detainment of Neighbor, Father of 4

Dozens of community members rallied in front of The Reformed Church of Highland Park on Friday afternoon to voice their opposition towards the recent detainment of local resident Cloyd Edralin by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The rally was planned just four days after Edralin, 47, a green card holder from the Philippines and father to four children who are U.S. citizens, was ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

June 15, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Somerset County Employees' Health Center Opens in Somerville

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and officials from Integrity Health gathered for a June 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new health care facility on East Main Street.

The Somerset County Partnership Health Center (SCPHC) will serve as an on-site health, wellness and care coordination center for employees of Somerset County, the county park commission, the ...

Long May It Wave: Somerville Elks' Festival Salutes American Flag

SOMERVILLE, NJ The Somerville Elks are hosting their annual salute to America, patriotism and the American Flag  June 15 on the green adjacent to the historic Somerset County Courthouse on East Main Street, beginning at 5 p.m.

The Flag Day Country Music Festival features “Big Hix,” a country/western tribute cover band that takes the stage at 7 p.m. for a free 90-minute ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

June 15, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Somerset County Employees' Health Center Opens in Somerville

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and officials from Integrity Health gathered for a June 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new health care facility on East Main Street.

The Somerset County Partnership Health Center (SCPHC) will serve as an on-site health, wellness and care coordination center for employees of Somerset County, the county park commission, the ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...