SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders has authorized the county attorney to file the necessary paperwork to allow the board to intervene in a Federal Regulatory Commission application filed by Williams/Transco on Tuesday night.
Williams/Transco filed their formal application on March 27 for the North East Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, and once complete, 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.
“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.
The project will enable Transco to provide an additional 400,000 dekatherms per day of incremental firm transportation service from its Compressor Station 195 in Pennsylvania to its offshore Rockaway Transfer Point in New York State. The proposed Compressor Station 206 will be located adjacent to the Trap Rock Quarry in Franklin Township.
The NESE project would also 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 gas powered 32,000 horsepower compressor station in Franklin, N.J.; and related appurtenant facilities, which would include two 50-foot smokestacks.
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.
Assemblyman Joe Danielson attended last week's Middlesex County Freeholder's meeting and tonight's Somerset County Freeholder's 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."
In Franklin, 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.
“By intervening in Transco’s application we are serving the public’s best interests,” said Freeholder Brian D. Levine, a former Franklin mayor. “This will give us a seat at the table so that we can keep abreast of the proceedings.”
The new, 32,000-horsepower compressor station near Transco’s mainline will consist of two Solar Mars 100 compressor units and gas cooling. 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.
“Our first responsibility is for the health and safety of Somerset County residents, and quite frankly, we are not convinced the need for this facility outweighs those concerns, especially since it would be located in proximity to both residential and commercial buildings as well as preserved open space,” said Freeholder Mark Caliguire, open space liaison. “We are not convinced that Transco can mitigate the substantial adverse environmental and societal impacts that the compressor station could create.”
April 27 is the deadline to file as an intervenor and to submit comments expressing concerns for or against Station 206. Comments made will impact the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) which is a tool used in the decision-making process for projects that will have an impact on the community.
The township also has information on how to file as an intervenor.
The Freeholders’ resolution, approved at their April 25 meeting, authorizes County Counsel William T. Cooper III “to take the necessary steps so that Somerset County can intervene and become a party to FERC regulatory matter, Docket No. CP17-101-000.”
The Transco pipeline is owned by Oklahoma-based Williams Companies Inc. For additional information about the Compressor Station 206 project, visit http://northeastsupplyenhancement.com/the-projects/project-facilities/
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