FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Environmental Commission officially adopted a resolution on March 6, opposing the installation of a gas powered compressor station and the township council endorsed it on Wednesday, March 15.
The compressor station is part of the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE), which includes plans for building miles of pipeline under the Raritan Bay to increase the gas supply to residents outside of New Jersey.
Williams/Transco, 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.
The resolution states the commission "opposes the construction and operation of a compressor station on the preferred site or on any other site in and around Franklin Township as it would have severe detrimental impacts on the residents, visitors, wildlife, recreation, businesses and landscape of the area."
Williams/Transco submitted draft resource reports that lacked the technical details and specifics that would enable the public to understand the impact of the construction and operation of a gas compressor station in the area, according to the resolution.
In an email statement, Christopher Stockton a Williams/Transco representative states, “These resource reports are drafts. They are designed to provide transparency with stakeholders with what we know even before our data collection and evaluation process is complete. They do not yet reflect the extensive survey work, data collection, and analysis which has been taking place as we have been working to prepare our Certificate Application.”
Once the application is filed with FERC, the revised resource reports will contain the detail needed for the regulatory agencies and other stakeholders to review the project, according to Williams/Transco.
The proposed compressor station "will release toxins into the air, ground water and nearby streams, as well as noise above and beyond accepted regulatory levels, all of which will impact the quality of life of local residents, children attending schools, businesses, places of worship, farmers and their farms which produce crops for local and regional consumption, and area and migratory wildlife for many years," according to the resolution.
Stockton denies this claim from the resolution saying, “This statement is simply not correct. It is a reckless statement with no truth whatsoever. The regulatory and permitting process for interstate natural gas transmission compressor stations is robust, protecting the health and safety of the public and wildlife living near the facility.”
Franklin township is also in a non-attainment zone which according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website is an area that does not meet one or more of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the criteria pollutants designated in the Clean Air Act.
“Unfortunately, the Williams/Transco company is trying to misinform the public of the safety and health risks this project poses to the businesses and people in the community,” Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Edward Potosnak said. “They know the more information people have about the project the less likely the compressor station will be built.”
Councilman At-Large Rajiv Prasad urged citizens of Franklin Township to attend an upcoming forum on the potential health risks associated with compressor stations and to sign up as intervenors.
"All of us should sign up to become intervenors and the more people we have as intervenors the more they would have to respond to all of us," Prasad said. "It would slow down the whole process of the approval of the compressor station."
Prasad's entire statement can be found below:
Details on how to submit eComments and to become and intervenor can be found below:
Information on March 25 forum at 2 p.m. can be found below:
The resolution was also sent to US Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, NJ Senators Christopher Bateman and Bob Smith, Assemblymen Jack Cittarelli, Andrew Zwicker, Joseph Egan and Joseph Danielsen, and Ruth W. Foster, PhD., P.G., NJDEP Acting Director of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Office of Permit Coordination & Environmental Review and Rutgers University.
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