Princeton, NJ. For the past year, Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition (SAFERNj.org) has been in the center of the fight to stop a new pipeline infrastructure proposal in New Jersey called the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE). Williams-Transco, the Oklahoma based Natural Gas Infrastructure Company has filed a formal application with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the government agency that regulates interstate pipeline projects, seeking approval for this project. Williams-Transco's proposal includes building a 32000 HP natural gas powered compressor station in Franklin NJ, as well as 23 miles of offshore pipeline in Lower New York Bay and 3.5 miles of 26” pipe in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
The coalition came to existence in May 2016, after the residents of Princeton Walk community in South Brunswick, received a letter from Williams-Transco, informing them that the company has decided to pre-file for the project with FERC. Since then, the coalition has received enormous support from many local and state-wide groups and environmental organizations.
The unprecedented safety, health and environmental risks posed by such a massive industrial facility adjacent to a densely populated residential area have been the primary concern of the residents and government officials alike. The coalition and its partners have been successfully educating area residents and community members about the potential risks and have mobilized a large number of people to protest against the project. Thousands of residents and stakeholders have already registered as “Intervenors” in the project, which gives them the right to officially raise concerns regarding the project with FERC and take legal action when necessary.
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During the past year the Coalition has partnered with various local groups and state level environmental organizations opposing NESE, and now holds by-weekly meetings with many of these partners. Residents against Compressor Station 206 (RACS 206), the South Brunswick Task Force, the Franklin Task Force and several Franklin and South Brunswick residential communities are all part of the larger group the coalition is working with to build opposition to the pipeline project. The Sierra Club, ReThink Energy and Food and Water Watch are other prominent environmental organizations the group is working with. “We have been greatly successful in bringing all the groups involved in this fight together”, said Barry Kutch, one of the founding members of the coalition and the current president of Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition.Additionally, the coalition has received staunch support from the councils of Franklin, South Brunswick and Montgomery townships (all of which have passed Resolutions against the project), state legislators and Congress woman Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Wayne Dibofsky, Assemblyman’s Joseph Danielsen’s chief of staff stated in a recent email sent to the coalition and its partners - “Please note that, Assemblyman Danielsen, your local state assemblyman, stands 100% in support of your concerns. For the last 18 months he has been in this battle for you-attending meetings at both the local and county level, getting the Somerset County Freeholders on as interveners, pushing the concerns to State Department of Environmental Officials to meeting with Williams -Transco about our community’s deep concerns. All this has been done with no fanfare but just plain hard work. You can always depend of Assemblyman Danielsen to be there for you. But you must also stay active and engaged because you are in a marathon not a sprint on this issue.”
New Jersey Buddhist Vihara
The New Jersey Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center is a serene and peaceful site of worship and reflection for hundreds of visitors from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. Its iconic statue, vibrant community, and wooded meditation trail create a contemplative place surrounded by nature where people of all ages and faiths come to meditate, reflect, and practice Buddhism. If the proposed compressor station is built in the adjacent property, the very existence of this meditation center is at stake.
“This is the largest Buddhist Statue in the Western Hemisphere” said Vajira Gunawardana Chief Resident Engineer of the Vihara. “Meditation is a major part of our religion, with major noise going on around us, we won’t be able to perform the very basic part of our religious practice”, he said.
Our Media team recently released a video containing interview with the incumbents and officials of the Vihara. The video also captures the serene temple ambiance.