To the Editor:

Why is there still no independent oversight of the Roseland Natural Gas Compressor Station and the more than 50-year-old pipeline designated to carry that gas as part of the Northeast Supply Link project?

As plans proceed to more than double the pressure of natural gas passing beneath our towns and neighborhoods, we must turn up the pressure for answers about the potential risks this project could pose to public health and the environment.

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As a long-time resident of Livingston and a Democratic candidate for the United States Congress in New Jersey’s 11th District, I share the concerns expressed by the advocacy group Roseland Against the Compressor Station (RACS) regarding the lack of credible third-party reporting on this project. At every stage, from siting to development to operation, the contractor, Transco (Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.) has managed to avoid answering questions about the safety of its plan and the integrity of its procedures, despite a documented history of lax management and safety violations on similar projects.

There have been four reported explosions and fires along Transco pipeline routes in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the past 24 months, the most recent in Branchburg, N.J., last May where 13 workers were injured. In just the past two weeks, explosions have also disrupted operations and injured workers at sites operated by Transco parent company, Williams Energy, March 31 in Plymouth, WA, and April 5 in Middle Grave Creek, WV.

Given the contractor’s record, the age of the pipeline and the lack of data specific to the impact of operations on our local area, why is this project being allowed to proceed unchallenged? Even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approved this project, presumably in the public interest, has rejected requests for more reporting and oversight of the project.

The Essex County Freeholder Board in February unanimously approved a resolution to demand that Transco and agencies responsible for overseeing the Northeast Supply Link provide more complete answers and information about the project. I share the hope held among those who oppose to the project that many other communities along the pipeline route will join in that call.

The responsible development of resources and technologies to provide affordable power to our communities is important for our Nation’s energy independence and economic growth. In pursuit of these goals, the Roseland compressor operation demands more transparent and accountable reporting to ensure public health and environmental protection are not compromised in the process.

Mark Dunec  
Democratic Candidate for Congress, NJ 11  
Livingston, NJ