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Destructive Pipeline Approved

Date : Mon, 4 Jun 2012 11:07:30 -0400

For Immediate Release
May 30, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

*Destructive Pipeline Approved

Last night the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took the side of dirty fossil fuel energy over the drinking water for the people of New Jersey.The agency approved the expansion of the polluting Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's (TGP) natural gas pipeline across some of the most sensitive watershed lands in the state.This pipeline will be drilled underneath the Monksville Reservoir, part of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, providing drinking water to over 2 million state residents.The New Jersey Sierra Club will be appealing the approval of the Northeast Upgrade Project as we believe there were both procedural and substantive deficiencies with the approval.The approval came two weeks after TGP requested the federal agency approve the project by May 30^th .Instead of looking out for the best interests of the people of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, FERC is catering to the needs of an energy corporation.

"This is the worst pipeline project ever to be approved in New Jersey.If you can build a pipeline here, across the Monksville Reservoir and our most sensitive and important public lands, where does it stop?FERC has become a cheerleader for the fossil industry.They are looking out for the gas companies, not the environment and public safety of the people of New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club. The Northeast Upgrade Project will install 18 miles of new pipeline in Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen counties and upgrade existing compressor and meter stations in Sussex and Bergen counties. About fifty percent of the project is located on public lands including High Point State Park, Ringwood State Park, Long Pond Ironworks State Park, and the Ramapo Reservation.The project will cut under the Monksville Reservoir and the Delaware River, both major drinking water supplies.

"This is a scar across the Highlands that destroys our woodlands and jeopardizes our water supplies.You cannot mitigate for this kind of destruction.This project will impact some of the most sensitive land in the state that is simply irreplaceable," said Tittel. The New Jersey DEP requested that FERC wait to issue the Environmental Assessment, which is part of the approval, until TGP provided more and accurate information, but their request was denied.The construction of the project cannot move forward unless all federal permits are secured, including a permit under the Clean Water Act under the jurisdiction of the NJDEP. This project will have significant impacts on the environment, proven by TGP's dismal track record in the region.The company completed the 300 Line Project in Wantage, Vernon, and West Milford in November and there are still open DEP violations from that project that have not been resolved.Erosion and sedimentation problems continue at Lake Lookover in West Milford.Since the project, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been documented on the pipeline right-of-way by the Vernon Environmental Commission.Residents along the route have complained of increased flooding and impacts to drinking water wells.

"The approval of the Northeast Upgrade project will allow TGP to destroy more of our water supplies and public lands before they even address the all problems from their first project.This company has a proven track record of causing destruction, and we are giving them another approval to pollute our land, air, and water. This is a recipe for disaster," said Jeff Tittel. This approval comes weeks after the Spectra pipeline in Jersey City and Bayonne was approved.These pipelines are being proposed to carry gas supplies from the Marcellus Shale produced through fracking, a drilling technique that contaminates drinking water supplies with over 700 chemicals, many of them toxic.Increased supply of gas has come as demand is lagging, causing gas prices to plummet.Earlier this year Chesapeake Energy, the second largest company using fracking to extract gas and one of two companies contracting for the capacity of this pipeline, announced they would be cutting production due to lack of demand.

"How many gas pipeline expansion projects do we need across the state as the gas drillers are announcing they are decreasing production?These projects are all speculative and driven by the supply-side.They are not based on actual demand; if they were, they would not be built," *said Jeff Tittel*.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-06-04 08:07:30

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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