Health & safety of people, wildlife, vegetation, trees, air, & water - now and for decades to come - is at risk.

If NESE’s Compressor Station 206 and pipeline in & by the Raritan Bay are constructed, we and future generations will be subjected to risks from air and water pollution, potential explosions, and extreme weather events.  We believe that exposure to pollutants, carcinogens and poisons, and safety risks for the profits of the fossil fuel industry should not be acceptable.

If built, Compressor Station 206 will completely change the dynamic of weather, air quality, health, and quality of life in Franklin Township and the surrounding communities. Moreover, approval of the Project and issuance of required permits from the NJ Environmental Protection Agency (NJDEP) would enable Williams/Transco to add more turbines at the proposed compressor site over the next five years (as they have done at ALL other locations), This would further increase the damaging impacts from polluting emissions that pose risks to our health and safety.  It also further increases severity of extreme weather events that threaten our economic and environmental quality of life now and for generations to come.

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Opposition to this Project continues, and comments to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) & NJDEP to require more information as well as highlight risks and concerns have delayed but not stopped it.  Williams/Transco needs to provide the NJDEP more information since the latest applications were identified as “deficient” on July 18, 2018.

  • Resolutions passes by townships effectively documented opposition, but they do not have the power to stop the NESE Project.
  • Although Williams/Transco’s initial applications for water quality permits were rejected by NYSDEC and withdrawn from NJDEP, new applications were submitted. 

There are ‘hopeful’ signs from NJDEP, but if we do not keep sustained pressure on agencies (such as FERC and NJDEP) and our legislators, these hopeful signs will dissipate.  If the public voice of opposition stops, the Project continues.

The Franklin Township Task Force is sharing a series of letters to the editor that will appear this week to provide information and encourage expression of concern and opposition to the NESE Project to the agencies that are deciding about approval of the Project and about permits needed – FERC & NJDEP.

This series will cover the following topics:

  1. Natural gas pipelines fail and explode.
  2. Compressor Stations release toxic chemicals into the air. 
  3. Sea level rise and extreme weather events are linked to increases in Greenhouse Gases. 
  4. Construction threatens wildlife and habitats on land and in the bay.
  5. Approval of natural gas facilities and pipelines by FERC does not emphasize protecting us.
  6. Williams-Transco’s NESE and Compressor Station 206:  Who Will Protect Us?

Now is NOT the time to keep quiet!

We need to continue speaking out about concerns to FERC, NJDEP, elected representatives and neighbors.  All voices count, and the outcry needs to maintain momentum!  Now is the time to make a difference by calling, writing and using social media to oppose this poisonous Project because FERC anticipates publishing their Final Environmental Impact Statement in September 2018.  After that, our comments will not be considered by them.

Series Issue 1:  Natural gas pipelines fail and explode.

Accidents may be uncommon, but when they occur, they can be deadly.  For the twenty years of 1997-2016, PHMSA recorded 1,719 incidents (averaging 114 incidents a year for the last ten years) at onshore gas transmission pipelines, with 48 fatalities and 179 injuries.  166 people — including members of the public and industry workers — have been killed and 721 have been injured in serious pipeline incidents from all gas pipeline types since 2005.

There is good reason to worry about public safety.  Since 2010, there has been, according to Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) data, a five-fold increase in the number of pipeline incidents per 100,000 miles of gas transmission pipeline (see figure below).  When we consider that pipelines put in the ground in the last decade are more likely to fail than those built in the 1940s, we understand that something has gone very wrong.

Such a dramatic rise is evidence that the Dept. of Transportation’s PHMSA standards themselves are inadequate to prevent pipeline incidents, and/or that the inspection and enforcement of those standards is failing, likely due to rushed pace of construction, or both.  The gas/pipeline industry is motivated to construct pipelines as quickly as possible to transport the glut of fracked gas from Pennsylvania and the Appalachian region to utility companies that are not required to tell how they will or do use the gas.

A new natural gas pipeline just exploded in West Virginia five (5) months after it was put into operation (June 7, 2018).  Supposedly built to standards, inspected and tested before pushing natural gas through it, this pipeline failed soon after it was built.  https://inhabitat.com/transcanada-natural-gas-pipeline-explodes-in-west-virginia/

A few years ago (April 26, 2016), a pipeline in Salem County, PA exploded after the company had inspected it in 2012, discovered some corrosion and 30% loss of pipeline thickness, but felt that the amount of corrosion was not an immediate risk.  Surprise!  The released methane caught fire, scorched over 40 acres, and caused a man to be burnt over 75% of his body.  It’s thought that the added compression hastened the rate of pipeline corrosion from the increased speed of gas through the pipeline and, since inspections are not frequent, the danger was not discovered in time.  http://www.post-gazette.com/powersource/companies/2016/05/11/Could-faster-gas-flow-have-contributed-to-Texas-Eastern-pipeline-erosion/stories/201605110092

There are no federal regulations limiting gas flow velocity.

To believe that Williams/Transco would design, install, inspect, test, construct, operate, replace, and maintain the proposed Compressor Station 206 as a condition to get a Certificate from FERC does not assure compliance in a time when the motivation is high to construct pipelines as quickly as possible.  Williams/Transco’s contracted company just got caught in Pennsylvania using an unauthorized drilling method after they had a fluid spill that they reported to the PADEP.  (March 2018)  That led to the second Notice of Violation issued to them for their construction of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Lebanon County.  https://www.ldnews.com/story/news/local/2018/03/31/pipeline-builder-faulted-unauthorized-form-drilling-spill-lebanon-county/474491002/

If FERC did its job to ensure that pipelines and compressor stations are constructed according to plans to be safe, why are there so many incidents reported to the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) – 503 significant natural gas transmission incidents causing 20 fatalities and another 89 injuries, also resulting in over $1 billion in property damage and costs from 2010 to 2016? 

If FERC and PHMSA did their jobs, why does the Pipeline Safety Trust report that the safety record of pipelines is getting worse and not better by noting that average incident rates in the 2010’s exceed those for pipelines installed prior to 1940?

What can you do?

  1. Tell the NJDEP that you want them to (1) hold public hearings (“fact-finding meetings”) and (2) deny the new water permit applications for the NESE Project.  See the attached letter, and send it, along with any written comments by August 1, 2018 (snail mail) or August 3 (email).            

    Mail letters to:

    Catherine R. McCabe, Commissioner                    Ruth W. Foster, PhD., P.G., Acting Director

    NJ Department of Environmental Protection  - (Addresses are on the attached letter)    

    and  NJDEP - Bureau of Urban Growth & Redevelopment - Division of Land Use Regulation

    501 East State Street, 2nd Floor

    PO Box 420 - Mail Code 501-02A

    Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

    Attn.:  Matthew Resnick & Christopher Jones

    Send emails of letters to:

    Commissioner@dep.nj.gov                                          

    Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov

    Matthew.Resnick@dep.nj.gov

    Christopher.Jones@dep.nj.gov      

    You can also sign the online petition letter to NJDEP provided by Food & Water Watch by going to: 

    https://secure.foodandwaterwatch.org/act/stop-transco-pipeline-and-compressor-statio

  2. Tell your State Representatives to support Joe Danielsen’s Resolution AR164, and encourage your State Senators to do a companion resolution opposing the NESE Project.  See attachment.
  3. Tell your local, state and federal officials about your concerns with the NESE Project and ask them to act to protect you.
  4. Write comments to FERC about your concerns.
  5. Go to www.scrap-NESE.org for information about the NESE Project, sample comments, the letter to NJDEP, and actions to take.