FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ – Opposition to a gas compressor station to be built on the Trap Rock site is picking up steam in the township.
More than 300 people gathered at the Sampson G. Smith Intermediate School Monday night for a forum on the controversial Proposed Williams-Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement Project.
The grass roots organization, turned township ad hoc committee, the Franklin Township Task Force on Compressor Station 206 organized the forum.
Kirk Frost of the Franklin Township Task Force said the goal of the forum was to get the crowd engaged with state and local officials.
"It really depends on you to stimulate the township municipalities, stimulate organizations, stimulating state and federal legislatures is very important," Frost said. "That's the goal (here). We all have our jobs to do, and we need to do them if we want to make an impact."
The Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE), 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.
According to Outreach Coordinator for ReThink Energy, Patty Cronheim, 63 percent of natural gas that came into the state in 2014 was then exported out.
"Your participation in this issue is critical," Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, D-17, said. "I am also concerned that people making 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."
During the forum, five different presentations were given, providing details on the health, environmental and economic impact a gas compressor station would have on the residents of Franklin Township and surrounding areas.
Director of NJ Sierra Club, Jeff Tittel said New Jersey was becoming "the crossroad of pipelines" because of the large amount of gas deposits in Pennsylvania that need to flow to other states.
"New Jersey has more pipelines that produce more gas than the people of New Jersey will ever use," Tittel said. "Seventy-five percent of the households in New Jersey have natural gas already and there is no need. The pipelines that are being promoted in New Jersey right now or proposed actually have more gas than we are currently using or will ever use and it will go somewhere else or even overseas."
Executive Director of NY/NJ Baykeeper, Debbie Mans discussed the potential impact the pipeline portion of the NESE project could have on wildlife, commercial fishing and recreational use of waterways. Mans also called for the need of a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is is a document that describes the impacts on the environment as a result of a proposed action.
Senior Organizer with Food and Water Watch, Matt Smith spoke about the health impacts associated with living near a gas compressor station especially during construction and acute events such as blowdowns. Smith reviewed specific health impacts experienced by individuals that live and work near compressor stations.
"Sixty-one percent of health impacts are associated with chemicals present in the air in excess of short and long term health screening level," Smith said. The following conditions were associated to living near a gas compressor station: Nasal Irritation, Throat Irritation, Eyes Burning, Frequent Nausea, Sinus Problems, Bronchitis, Increased Fatigue, Muscle Aches and Pains, Severe Headaches, Dizziness, Weakness and Tired, Decreased Motor Skills, Depression, Frequent Irritation, Severe Anxiety.
Outreach Coordinator, Patty Cronheim also discussed the risk a compressor station would have to our health and safety in addition to highlighting how natural gas is actually a dirty fossil fuel according to her research. Cronheim discussed how there were not enough workers to fully inspect pipeline equipment to ensure its safety.
"The agency responsible is mandated to 135 inspectors for over two million miles of pipeline," Cronheim said. "That means for each inspector their pipeline can go back and forth across the country, that's how much they are responsible for."
A question and answer session with a panel of experts followed the presentations. The panel and presenters urged the community to get involved if they feel the pipeline is something they don't want.
"We should be focusing on (making voices heard) as we are coming to the time horizon (for the construction of compressor station)," Executive Director of NJ League of Conservation Voters Ed Potosnak said.
Attendees were told the following from members of the panel:
- Go to websites of environmental organizations, and get active and get involved.
- Become an intervenor so you can place your position on the record.
- How to become an intervenor - EELC’s Citizen’s Guide & FERC website offer instructions: http://www.ferc.gov/help/how-to/intervene.asp
- Engage with your local and state government officials and community organizations to let them know your position on the proposed gas compressor.
- Help spread the word!
Franklin Township's mayor and members of the township council were also in attendance.
Save the Date for the HEALTH FORUM Saturday March 18, 2 p.m. at Sampson G. Smith Auditorium with Featured Speaker: Dr. Curtis Nordgaard Pediatrician and Researcher.
All of the presentations from the forum can be found below:
State Contacts for NJ District 16 & 17 Legislature Federal Contacts
Senator Robert “Bob” Menéndez – (202) 224-4744
Senator Cory Booker – (202) 224-3224
Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman – (202) 225-5801
How to become an intervenor - EELC’s Citizen’s Guide & FERC website offer instructions: http://www.ferc.gov/help/how-to/intervene.asp
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