Green

Letters to the Editor

Who will they try to buy-off next? Williams-Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE): Economic Report by Rutgers & Other Ways this Company Tries to Influence Perceptions

Apparently, it is worth millions to Williams to shift the focus from the dangers, risks and damage of the expansion of natural gas infrastructure to local projects that benefit from their money and to contract for a study of economic impacts that omits costs of negative consequences.  Hopefully, the public will not be misled by a sparsely documented report saying that the NESE will bring millions to the tri-state area and by offerings of Williams to provide support or money to aid local causes.

Without indicating the source of information for completion of an analysis, and not identifying that the study was commissioned by and paid for by Williams, a June 2017 report by two people from Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy supposedly identified economic impacts of NESE that cannot be considered to be credible or independent at face value.  The lack of detail and transparency, required for any legitimate research study or analysis, was shocking in this 50+ page report that presented favorable yet highly suspicious figures without clarification to support the claim of Williams that this project will contribute to the area economically.  In this very biased report, seemingly written to make the NESE project look good, there are no references, no fact-checking, and no details of the information used for their calculations (e.g., money for the entire NESE project and jobs) that was likely supplied by the company proposing to construct NESE – Williams.  They do not document whether or not the figures include pre-construction activities of Williams-Transco from the conception of this project years ago which, in reality, would not be local or future revenue.  They do not mention that most construction or supervisory jobs require specialized skills and will go to people from other states or that these jobs are temporary (short-term).  The NESE project only projects two full-time positions in our area after its completion.  They do not adequately detail asserted employment impacts for ancillary positions like consultants, retail or food services, and they do not relate their assertions to studies of comparable projects.  This report does not include any reasonableness test of their results.  The two authors of this report were also part of the team that completed similar reports for Williams’ Northeast Supply Link project which was put into service in 2013.  Based on changes in Williams’ projected spending for that project that were less than initially proposed, they revised their initial 2010 report twice in 2011 and 2012.  Certainly, if the Rutgers authors want to add credibility to their current report, they could use real data about jobs and taxes from the Northeast Supply Link to compare their modeling with factual outcomes and use that to provide support or modify their current report. 

If the title of the report, “Economic Impacts of the Proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Project in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York” was what was really analyzed, there would have been real facts about similar projects that have been completed, full disclosure of what they based their figures on, and inclusion of the detrimental and costly impacts from pollution and environmental damage that are found in increased illnesses, responses to and dealing with damages and dangers, and lost income by those relying on farming as well as fishing-related and tourism occupations by the Raritan and New York Bays from such a natural gas infrastructure project.  They do not include the costs for fragile environments, especially those by the Bays where efforts have been made to restore and preserve the environment, wildlife habitats and shellfish/fishery areas where remediation efforts were further impacted by Superstorm Sandy.  They also do not calculate the economic cost of adding greenhouse gases to our atmosphere from this project.  The so-called economic benefits for approximately one year of construction work along with tax revenue are misleading and certainly do not outweigh the immediate and long-term costly impacts of such a project for those in communities around the compressor station, pipelines and metering stations.

Sign Up for E-News

In addition to commissioning such a blatantly one-sided report, Williams/Transco has garnered support in areas of the Northeast impacted by their construction of natural gas pipelines, compressor stations and other facilities to transport fracked gas to areas in the Northeast as well as the South.  They promote themselves as good neighbors by providing grants from $1,000 to $25,000 to local organizations who apply for them.  Though Williams has not announced a grant program for the NESE affected communities, local officials and first responders have indicated that this company offered to help them with needed projects.  Official grant programs of Williams for three other northeast projects are noted below.

  1. Constitution Pipeline project in NY:  Williams, one of the partners financing this project and the company anticipated to build and operate the facilities if it is approved for certificates from New York, established the Constitution Pipeline Community Grant Program in 2012.  Of note, they did not submit their application to FERC for this project until June 13, 2013.  Since 2012, Williams has distributed over 2 million dollars to 159 organizations in areas along the planned pipeline route.
  2. Rockaway Delivery Lateral & Northeast Connector projects in NY:  The Rockaway Community Grant Program was established by Williams after they submitted their application to FERC in May 2014.  Since 2014, Williams provided nearly 800,000 dollars to 130 organizations.  Williams continues to provide some money from this grant program in the area even though the project was put into service in July 2016.  Of interest, the Rockaway Transfer Point is the end-point for the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project.
  3. Atlantic Sunrise:  Williams submitted their application to FERC on March 31, 2015, and since 2015, their Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant Program has distributed 1.79 million dollars to 233 organizations.  They also partnered with The Conservation Fund to identify resources most in need of enhancement and/or protection in the region, and through their Atlantic Sunrise Environmental Stewardship Program, they granted more than 2.5 million dollars to 17 conservation projects.  On their blog, Williams provides very professional videos about these conservation projects with the thankful recipients, and they have recently been awarded the Southern Gas Association’s Environmental Excellence Award for this Stewardship program.

In our area, Williams/Transco has proposed the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project that includes a 32,000 horsepower gas-fired compressor station near an active mining area (Trap Rock Quarry) and a Superfund Site (Higgins Farm) that is still being monitored for groundwater contamination.  They want to construct over 23 miles of pipeline under the Raritan Bay and Lower New York Bay that would be near or within shellfish and fishery areas as well as 3.59 mile of onshore pipeline in Old Bridge/Sayreville.  This company has submitted their application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the next step is for FERC to publish a draft Environmental Impact Statement, anticipated in October/November 2017.  State departments of environmental protection/conservation will then need to review and decide about their applications for air and water permits.  Even if it were true that NESE would provide economic benefit to the tri-state area for the months of construction and then in taxes, the landowners, consumers, employers and recreational users in the area will bear the costs of negative health and safety impacts for the lifetime of this project if it is constructed.

As Einstein said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure of the latter.”  Don’t be fooled!  Just because Pennsylvania chooses to promote fracking and other natural gas production and transmission does not mean that New Jersey should change from the Garden State to the Pipeline Ozone State to increase profits of Williams/Transco and provide more natural gas to New York, a state highly committed to quickly transitioning from fossil fuel to renewable energy.  Natural gas is not clean energy.  The impacts from methane leaks which are flammable and contribute significantly to ozone/smog, and neurotoxic and carcinogenic emissions from compressor stations are real. 

Ask your local organizations, first responders and officials if they are willing to risk your health and safety for thousands of dollars or other support from a company planning to construct another natural gas infrastructure project through and in New Jersey that will impact generations to come.  Ask your elected legislators to ensure that the Rutgers’ report is carefully checked and assessed before allowing it to influence decisions by FERC and the DEPs of the states to permit or not permit construction of NESE.  We have the right to be protected by our elected officials.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Rockin In The Park

July 21, 2018

Rockin In The Park "Rockin The Park" Family Fun Day will be on August 19th at Springwood Park in Asbury Park at 12pm. This event will host food, fun and family activities. Music will be provided by DJ Smooth, DJ Hands Up and DJ KJBEST1.

We would like to thank the two organizations assisted in sponsoring this event, The Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and the College Achieved Charter ...

John Mahoney Loses Appeal in Murder Case Against his Father

July 20, 2018

PISCATAWAY, NJ - John Mahoney loses appeal on murder charges for killing his father Jerry Mahoney, former Piscataway police officer and Piscataway School Board member.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that a Piscataway man’s 2015 aggravated manslaughter and hindering conviction and sentence were affirmed today by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate ...

New Brunswick Battles Hunger with Largest Food Pantry Network in County

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Rev. Douglas Shepler became pastor of New Brunswick's Second Reformed in April 2008 and by October had a food pantry running that quickly attracted people in need, including Rutgers University students.

“We had graduate students coming to us and they had a choice of paying their rent or paying for food,” Shepler said. However, those students ...

Viewing Date Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash in Raritan

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church, in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

South Plainfield Police Investigators Seek Public’s Help in Fatal Crash

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office are looking for the public’s help in the July 4, 2018 fatal motorcycle accident that killed 28 year-old Jessica Montes of Piscataway.

According to police, the accident occurred at approximately 4:50am as the vehicle Montes was a passenger lost control and crashed on New Brunswick ...

Tee times, Pairings Announced for Start of Next Week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship starts Monday.  The pairings for the first two rounds of the 71st edition were recently announced.

Monday (July 16) and Tuesday (July 17) tee times will be played on the 7,280-yard, par-71 Upper Course and at the 7,313-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.

Monday, Tuesday tee times & pairings

The ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

John Mahoney Loses Appeal in Murder Case Against his Father

July 20, 2018

PISCATAWAY, NJ - John Mahoney loses appeal on murder charges for killing his father Jerry Mahoney, former Piscataway police officer and Piscataway School Board member.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that a Piscataway man’s 2015 aggravated manslaughter and hindering conviction and sentence were affirmed today by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate ...

New Brunswick Battles Hunger with Largest Food Pantry Network in County

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Rev. Douglas Shepler became pastor of New Brunswick's Second Reformed in April 2008 and by October had a food pantry running that quickly attracted people in need, including Rutgers University students.

“We had graduate students coming to us and they had a choice of paying their rent or paying for food,” Shepler said. However, those students ...

Viewing Date Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash in Raritan

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church, in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

"Xtreme" Adventures for Teens in Somerset County

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center  has scheduled a challenging summer program series for teens 13 to 16.

“Xtreme Adventure” is a summer-long series of one-day outdoor programs that will entertain and educate teen girls and boys. All adventures begin at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 13, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.