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Spectra Pipeline Approved in Liberty State Park

Date : Wed, 13 Jun 2012 14:11:17 -0400

For Immediate Release
June 7, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Spectra Pipeline Approved in Liberty State Park

The State House Commission approved, 5-1, the diversion of Libert State Park lands forthe Spectra pipeline.Liberty is the most visited State Park in the nation.The Spectra pipeline will go through some of the most densely populated parts of New Jersey- Bayonne, Jersey City and off the shore of Hoboken into New York City.Our public lands are precious, especially in such a heavily populated area, and must not be diverted for dirty fossil fuel projects.Liberty State Park belongs to all of us and is held in the public trust.This project takes the side of special interests over the protection of our public lands.Spectra cannot adequately mitigate for the loss of public access in one of our most heavily visited parks.

"Today the State House Commission took the side of dirty fossil fuels over the people of Hudson County and New Jersey.The Commission put the interests of a gas company and gas drillers before protecting the public trust.This is like putting a pipeline through our Yellowstone or our Yosemite," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club. Spectra will pay the state $2.279 million for a twenty year lease to divert about 1 acre of land.Sierra Club objects the use of a twenty year lease, as it was done to avoid the requirements of the Odgen-Rooney Act.The Act only applies to leases over 25 years and requires more public participation.We believe that since the project will be in our parks for longer than 25 years and due to the significant degree of public interest this lease for should have been 25 years or more. The Sierra Club is also concerned that no replacement land agreement was entered into for the diversion of parklands.In previous pipeline leases before the State House Commission, replacement land was purchased at a 4:1 ratio.

"Liberty State Park was purchased to be held in the public trust for the public good and this project violates the public trust by allowing these preserved lands to be destroyed.By voting yes today, the State House Commission is allowing our most heavily visited State Park to be impacted with pollution," said Jeff Tittel. The proposed route also goes through some of the most heavily industrialized areas of the region, putting people in this region at risk. This area is already burdened with excessive pollution adding more pollution will greatly affect the public health and the environment of this community.Along with toxic contamination the construction of the pipeline will impact freshwater wetlands, water bodies, and other environmental sensitive areas. Placing a pipeline in such densely populated areas increases the risk of exposure to hazardous air pollutants along with the risk of a possible disaster putting lives of the residents in these communities in danger.More air pollution caused by venting compressing and pumping stations releasing methane and other pollutants will impact these communities. The State House Commission also voted to approve diversions for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's Northeast Upgrade Project on public lands in High Point, Long Pond Ironworks, and Ringwood State Park, and the Ramapo Reservation. These projects put a bullseye on New Jersey's open space.Gas companies must not be allowed to divert and pollute our public lands.Instead these companies should propose alternative routes that avoid our public open spaces.Under current state regulations, it's cheaper to put the pipeline on public property rather than private land and these gas companies are taking advantage of that. As fracking operations expand in the Marcellus and Utica Shales, more pipeline expansion projects will be proposed through our public lands.As this gas is shipped to New York City, or even in the future exported overseas, New Jersey will be left with the pollution and degraded public lands without any benefit.Approving these pipelines sets a bad precedent for the future.

"This project violates the public trust.The State House Commission did not do its job to protect our public trust today when it approved this project," said Jeff Tittel.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-06-13 11:11:17

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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