ROSELAND, NJ — The Borough of Roseland is calling upon Williams Gas Pipeline Transco to hold a public community hearing regarding its proposal to construct a second gas compressor at its site on Eagle Rock Avenue—a proposal that Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo recently declared he was against and wrote a letter to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) encouraging it to reject the company’s application for a Freshwater Wetlands Permit.
The Roseland Borough Council recently passed a resolution opposing the project and is now requesting that the gas provider host a public meeting in order to ensure that community members can share their concerns and have their questions answered about the compressor station and the proposed expansion.
“They wanted to do it on their own terms, they wanted have us submit all the questions and they wouldn’t take any questions from the public,” said Councilman Chris Bardi. “That’s not what we want. We want to be able to have an open public meeting where residents can ask questions.”
In his letter to the NJDEP, DiVincenzo said that adding a second 27,500 horsepower compressor station would not be appropriate for the Roseland location (563 Eagle Rock Avenue). He said that there is already a great volume of compressed gas traveling through the borough and surrounding communities, and that doubling the capacity of the compressor station “will increase by twofold the inherent dangers of having a pipeline passing through a densely populated area.”
“In addition, the existing compressor station, as well as the new one, is on wetlands,” he said. “This encroachment poses great risks to the local ecosystem and environment.”
Considering the compressor station’s location in relation to a nearby PSE&G switching station and high-tension electric lines as well as its proximity to the Passaic River, DiVincenzo also said in his letter that safety in the area is a major concern, and that “creating more development on wetlands is ill-advised.”
He noted that when the first compressor station was constructed in 2013, a large amount of gas was released without notice and caused great mistrust and fear within the community. He joined the borough in calling upon Williams/Transco Pipeline to host a public hearing about the project.
“I do not understand why a public hearing about a project of this magnitude—one that directly impacts our environment, safety and quality of life—has not been scheduled,” said DiVincenzo. “It keeps the public informed, allows ideas to be shared and concerns to be addressed. The fact that this important step is being bypassed creates suspicion and exacerbates the mistrust felt by the community.”
Roseland Against the Compressor Station, New Jersey Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, 350 NJ and Essex Greens Renewable Energy Campaign are also among the community groups calling for a public meeting, according to DiVincenzo.