FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - An intimate crowd gathered to hear various health issues gas compressor stations could have on community health, at Sampson G. Smith school, Saturday, March 18.
ReThink Energy NJ, NJ League of Conservation Voters, Food & Water Watch and Franklin Township Task Force about Compressor Station 206 & NESE sponsored the forum and Dr. Curtis Nordgaard gave a presentation called "Compressor stations & health risks: Moving New Jersey in the wrong direction."
Patty Cronheim read a letter from a resident in a nearby town with a gas compressor station similar to the one that is proposed to be built in Franklin Township. The excerpt below is what the resident stated once she found out the existing compressor station near her home will be adding another compressor in order to distribute more gas.
"I am concerned about the increased sound, smell, and danger of more gas running through old pipe and old wells, and methane releases, both planned and unplanned. All of which makes it impossible for me to forgot that my family and I live near a very dangerous facility that is left unmanned every evening."
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.
Nordgaard told attendees gas compressor stations definitely emit - noise, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants (formaldehyde, benzene, ect) and radon.
"Just a reminder radon is a radioactive gas, and after cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer," Nordgaard said.
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.
Christopher Stockton a Williams/Transco spokesperson said in an email statement, "Agencies have authority to, and have established, construction- and operation-related air pollution limits in accordance with their statutory requirements (e.g., conformance with a State Implementation Plan); and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are re-evaluated every five years to protect public health."
Nordgaard expressed that the standards allowed by government agencies don't mean the pollution allowed is safe. "This is not the standard where we say below that there's no effect on health and above that, there is an effect on health," Nordgaard said. "That's not the case this is where the EPA has made a decision after collecting a lot of input and reviewing a lot of data. Given what we know about air pollution and the need for facilities to operate we are going to create this middle ground, and that is where we get these standards."
Nordgaard also shared anecdotal information from people who live near a compressor station, such as - it tends to vent at night, it rattled the dishes in the cupboards, and it sounds like a jet engine.
"After hearing these stories about noise from Patty [Cronheim] and residence where I live where's is this going to go," Nordgaard said. "About half a mile from a meditation center and this is just part of the injustice that seems to happen everywhere these facilities are planned."
"Transco will conduct a pre-construction study to measure existing noise levels at the location of the proposed station," Stockton said. "A post-construction noise survey will be completed after construction is complete to demonstrate that the compressor station complies with sound requirements. The bottom line is that neighbors will be hard pressed to hear or see this facility."
According to a document provided by the Franklin Task Force about Compressor Station 206 & NESE states, "The pipeline includes pipes that are over 50 years old, and corrosion or cracks in them can lead to gas escapes (explosions/fires). Adding increased gas along lines may add stress, and this combination (added compression + older pipelines) has led to dangerous explosions/fires throughout our country. A William's spokesperson noted, in a newspaper article, that the older pipeline in Trap Rock was changed and moved in the 1980's; however, no record of that is readily apparent, and it was not clear from his assertion if all of the pipeline related to this project was changed."
"We certainly understand the concerns that have been expressed," Stockton said in his email statement. "Our goal remains to demonstrate transparency and do what we can to respond to questions and address concerns in a productive manner. Our recent decision to adjust the location of the facility, siting it farther from residential areas, was largely in response to such concerns."
Stockton also said more information about the project, as well as frequently asked questions, can be viewed on their website at www.northeastsupplyenhancement.com.
The Franklin Township Task Force is calling on residents that oppose the compressor station to become an intervenor and file an eComment.
Williams/Transco will submit the next phase of their application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 27.
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