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Transco Pipeline Hurts Environment

Date : Thu, 19 Apr 2012 12:34:03 -0400

*/For Immediate Release/*
April 12, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

*Transco Pipeline Hurts Environment* Today the DEP will hold a hearing on Freshwater Wetland and Flood Hazard Area permits for Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company's (Transco) Northeast Supply Link project.The company is proposing to add new pipeline to its system in Hunterdon County, modify 25 miles of pipe in Essex, Passaic, Hudson, and Bergen Counties, and add a new compressor station in Roseland, New Jersey.The project will impact wetlands, threatened and endangered species, water supplies, and other critical resources all to bring more polluting fossil fuels into New Jersey and New York City.An initial permit application for the Hunterdon County portion of the project was deemed deficient by the DEP but could be resubmitted at any time.The DEP is currently reviewing the applications for the eastern portion of the line and the proposed compressor station expansion.

"If pushed through, this pipeline project will destroy important wetlands and critical animal habitat, threaten our water supply, and clear cut our forests. It will result in the destruction of environmentally-sensitive lands, including water supply watersheds, wetlands, and the South Branch of the Raritan River, and encourage fracking in Pennsylvania by allowing drillers to export more gas," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*. The DEP is reviewing permit applications before the project has received any federal approvals.The Sierra Club is urging the DEP to deem all permit applications for the project as incomplete until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) completes its environmental review and approves the project.In its review FERC could request an alteration of the route or deny the application and the DEP should not be wasting staff resources on reviewing the project until the federal approvals are in place. The project would have significant impacts on the Highlands region, drinking water supplies, steep slopes, important wetlands and threatened species habitat.The company wants to drill underneath the South Branch of the Raritan River and through lands in the River's watershed.The South Branch provides drinking water to over 1 million people and sedimentation, erosion, and potential contamination impacts to the river during construction will lower water quality. Hydrological patterns are often altered by pipelines, allowing for water to run parallel to the pipeline instead of infiltrating back into aquifers. The project will destroy wetlands and forest habitat by opening these areas up to invasives species and ATV use. The pipeline will impact public lands that belong to all of us in the South Branch Reservation and Cramer's Creek Park in Clinton Township. Construction and operation of the pipeline will increase air pollution around the compressor station and venting gas from the pipeline, impacting public health.Placing the pipeline in such densely populated areas increases the risk of exposure to hazardous air pollutants along with the risk of a possible disaster putting the lives of the residents in these communities in danger.

"This project will create more air pollution and will be a scar across the Highlands region," *said Jeff Tittel*. This project is being pushed by suppliers fracking in the Marcellus Shale gas fields.This technology is producing a glut of natural gas, but actual industrial, commercial, and residential customer demand remains flat.The 2010 U.S. Energy Information Administration /International Energy Outlook/ found that between 1999 and 2009, total natural gas consumption for _all sectors_ decreased by 13.3% in New Jersey and 10.4% in New York. The glut of natural gas is also causing prices to drop, to the point where Chesapeake, the second largest natural gas producer, announced they were scaling back production in 2012 due to the low price.As other companies may also scale back production we do not know the total amount of gas that will need to be moved from the Marcellus Shale region.Needed pipeline capacity in the future will most likely decrease as companies scale back production. Resolutions opposing the pipeline project have been passed by several communities along the Transco right-of-way.Clinton Township, Union, Readington, Nutley, and Ridgefield have all passed resolutions as well as Hunterdon County.

"We need the DEP to stand up for the best interests of the people of New Jersey, not the fossil fuel industry, and deny this pipeline.This pipeline jeopardizes the safety, public health, and environment of residents and families from Hunterdon County to Bergen County.This project is inappropriate in an age where we should be looking at renewable energy solutions and moving away from polluting fossil fuels," *said Kate Millsaps, program assistant, NJ Sierra Club*.

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-04-19 09:34:03

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