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Keep Transco Pipeline Off Our Open Space

Date : Wed, 9 May 2012 11:34:06 -0400

For Immediate Release
May 8, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100 Kate Millsaps, 732 814 6849

Keep Transco Pipeline Off Our Open Space Tonight Franklin Township (Hunterdon) and the Green Acres Program will hold a public hearing on diverting two parcels preserved with taxpayer funding for the Transco Northeast Supply Link Project.This pipeline expansion project will have significant impacts on environment and clean energy future of not only the township and Hunterdon County, but the entire state.The Sierra Club objects to the use of public lands for polluting energy projects as a way to cut project costs.These energy companies target our public lands because they are appraised lower, and therefore cheaper to use, than privately held lands.The Sierra Club is calling on Franklin Township officials and the DEP Green Acres program to reject this proposal to destroy our public lands for an inappropriate energy project.

"Polluting fossil fuel projects do not belong on our public lands.We see demand for natural gas dropping, yet more and more pipelines are being proposed that cut across some of our most important public lands for both sensitive environmental resources and recreational opportunities.These lands are held in the public trust and mitigation plans cannot make up for what is being lost here," *said Kate Millsaps, program assistant, New Jersey Sierra Club*. This project puts a bulls eye on New Jersey's open space while Franklin Township will be compensated for pennies on the dollar.It is cheaper to put the pipeline on public lands than negotiating with private landowners and Transco is trying to take advantage of that to push down project costs.The amount of compensation Transco would have to pay has not been determined yet according to the public notice issued by Franklin Township. 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. 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.FERC must conduct a thorough demand assessment to ensure that this project is not solely being driven by these gas suppliers. This project will allow for more fracking by providing more export capacity to gas wells in Pennsylvania.The Williams-Transco pipeline, which is contracted for over 50% of the new capacity, is one of three major pipelines in Bradford County that is already being used to transport Marcellus Shale gas.Transco has also negotiated contracts with two other Marcellus Shale natural gas producers, Anadarko Petroleum and Hess Corporation, so 100 percent of gas flowing through this pipeline will be produced by fracking. Transco filed a formal application with FERC for the project in December.FERC is currently reviewing and preparing an Environmental Assessment on the project, which would install close to 7 miles of new pipeline in Union, Franklin and Clinton Townships, conduct major modifications to 25 miles of existing pipeline through Essex, Passaic, Hudson, and Bergen counties, and add a new compressor station in Roseland, New Jersey. 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.

"Franklin Township and the Green Acres Program should deny these diversion requests and tell Transco to go back to the drawing board and outline a route that does not violate the public trust by destroying the resources of our public lands.Franklin Township and the Green Acres program must not allow this company to destroy our public land while offering us pennies on the dollar in compensation," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*.

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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