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Sep 9 (Tue), 7:00 pm
Fossil Fuels and Their Impacts... And, What Else To Do
Sep 10 (Wed), 7:30 pm
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The Dangers of the Pilgrim Pipleline
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Sep 14 (Sun), 10:00 am
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Sep 15 (Mon), 7:00 pm
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The Endangered Species Act

Destructive Pipeline Before Highlands Council

Date : Tue, 13 Jan 2012 17:27:04 -0500

/For Immediate Release/
January 17, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100 Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, (o) 215-369-1188 x104, (cell) 215-692-2329 Erica Van Auken, NJ Highlands Coalition, 973-588-7190

*Destructive Pipeline Before Highlands Council*

/Tennessee Gas Pipeline's Second Project in Three Years/

// A destructive gas pipeline project will be before the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council at their meeting this Thursday.The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP) is seeking an exemption from the Highlands Act for their infrastructure expansion project that will enable increased exports of natural gas produced through the dangerous technique of hydraulic fracking or fracking from the Marcellus Shale.The pipeline will destroy critical Highlands resources and impact a significant amount of preserved lands held in the public trust.The Council staff has recommended the project be eligible for the exemption based on a mitigation plan, but we have seen the company's mitigation techniques fail in the past.The Council must deny this exemption request to protect the resources of the region, especially the drinking water supply for over 2 million people.

"This pipeline will jeopardize the critical resources of the Highlands region and the Council must reject it.Instead the staff is trying to cut a deal and that will put in place weak mitigation measures that risk the water supply and destroy our public lands," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*."These areas are unique and irreplaceable containing the most environmentally sensitive parts of New Jersey including the most important lands for our water supply. This project will have a dramatic impact on areas that should be preserved.This project is like putting a pipeline through our Yellowstone or our Yosemite." The Council will vote to exempt the Northeast Upgrade Project from the requirements of the Highlands Act.The project would install 18 miles of new pipeline in Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen counties and upgrade existing compressor and meter stations in Sussex and Bergen counties. The Northeast Upgrade Project will cut under the Monksville Reservoir and cross a significant amount of public land including Long Pond Ironworks and Ringwood State Parks and the Ramapo County Reservation.If this project is approved we will be jeopardizing the resources of the Highlands for a fossil fuel energy projects.The project will destroy critical habitat, stands of forest, and water supply watersheds on land owned by all of us. Approval of the exemption would be based on a mitigation plan and land replacement agreements the staff made with the company.However we have seen in the past that TGP's mitigation plans do not work.The company just completed construction of the 300 Line in November.That project has destroyed Lake Lookover in West Milford and increased flooding along the Right of Way.Numerous problems were reported in areas of steep slopes and the company was often found to not be in compliance with its own mitigation measures.Some of our worst fears have come true about the impacts of the 300 Line Project to waterways in the Highlands, and now the Council could approve TGP's request to go through the most environmentally sensitive and largest water supply reservoir system in New Jersey.

"They are totally disregarding some of the major elements of the Highlands Act such as clear cutting trees and removing vegetation on extremely steep slopes above precious water supply streams and digging through some of our most valuable wetland areas," *said local activist Renee Allessio*."Last year, with the 300 Line expansion project under construction, West Milford experienced a record 90 inches of precipitation.The pipeline project caused unacceptable sedimentation of our lakes and streams.I am tired of privatizing the profits and socializing the risks and the costs." The Council approval would be based on replacement land commitments but a cost cap would be put in place and no suitable parcels have been agreed to yet.These compensation parcels should be identified before Council approval to ensure the best mitigation possible if the project does move forward.TGP negotiated with the Council to spend no more than $7500 an acre on replacement land and can cash out at $7500 an acre if replacement land is not purchased within 2-3 years.However, recent Green Acres purchases in the area have cost well over $7500 an acre.For example, the Woggish parcel next to the pipeline was purchased for $41,000 per acre in 2009.TGP will not be able to purchase high-quality upland forests to mitigate the impacts of this project with a $7500 per acre cap in place.TGP will be allowed to destroy some of the most resource rich areas of the Highlands without having to purchase equal caliber lands for replacement.

"It is extremely important that this pipeline project not be approved through the Highlands region. Tennessee Gas's record is abysmal, and the project will wreak havoc across the Highlands. This company's history is marred with countless environmental violations; we have no reason to believe that this portion of the project will be managed better than the last. For every reason, we are staunchly opposed to it." " *said Erica Van Auken, Campaign Coordinator, New Jersey Highlands Coalition*. The project has not received any federal approvals.TGP is applying for a certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC and as part of the process an environmental assessment on the project's impacts is being finalized.The environmental review also examines what viable alternatives exist.Approvals has not been issued on the state level either, but the company has submitted land use permits to the DEP and has begun working with the Green Acres program, local governments and non-profit groups on diversions of public lands for the project.

**

*Problems reported in the construction of the 300 Line Project under FERC Docket Number CP09-444-000,* Week of December 11, 2011 through December 17, 2011

(the project was completed at this point but the cumulative column shows the number of issues over the course of the project)

*Problem Area*

       

*Number of Problem Areas this Reporting Period *

       

*Cumulative Number of Problem Areas * Failure to properly install erosion controls/ use of BMPsto adequately protect resources

       

0

       

15 Use of unapproved construction entrance

       

0

       

2 Failure to adequately protect segregated topsoil

       

0

       

2 Silt-laden water overwhelming erosion controls and entering resource/depositing sediment off ROW

       

0

       

43 Failure to maintain filter bag allowing silt laden water to enter wetland

       

0

       

1 Failure to stabilize access road resulting in sediment-laden water entering stream/waterbody

       

0

       

3 Sediment/rock deposited off the ROW

       

0

       

10 Bentonite from HDD operations deposited in stream/wetland (not associated with frac out)

       

0

       

2 Failure to maintain flow under equipment bridge crossing

       

0

       

1 Failure to replace erosion controls at the end of the work day

       

0

       

1 Failure to properly install trench plug

       

0

       

3 Failure to maintain erosion controls

       

0

       

5 Parking outside of approved workspace

       

0

       

1 Off-ROW disturbance

       

0

       

2 Impact to landowner's leach field after being clearly marked in the field

       

0

       

1 Failure to use secondary containment as needed

       

0

       

2 Off-ROW erosion/disturbance resulting from stormwater discharge

       

0

       

6 Failure to clean sediment off mats/bridge resulting in sediment deposition in resource

       

0

       

1 Equipment leak with potential to impact resource

       

0

       

1

*Non-Compliance*

       

*Number of Non-Compliances this Reporting Period*

       

*Cumulative Number of Non-Compliances* Failure to replace erosion controls at the end of the work day

       

0

       

1 Failure to properly segregate topsoil in agricultural field/rotated pasture

       

0

       

7 Placement of wetland subsoils off-ROW within resource

       

0

       

1 Failure to properly use filtering device during trench dewatering

       

0

       

2 Failure to follow proper procedures during trench dewatering

       

0

       

1 Parking outside of approved workspace

       

0

       

4 Failure to properly install/maintain erosion controls/BMPs resulting in impact to resource

       

0

       

9 Failure to use secondary containment as needed

       

0

       

1 Placement of construction materials outside of approved workspace

       

0

       

2 Sediment off ROW

       

0

       

1 In-stream work conducted during fishery restriction

       

0

       

2 Placement of upland soils within resource

       

0

       

1 Failure to maintain rock construction entrance

       

0

       

1

**

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-01-13 14:27:04

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