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Senator Menendez Requests Rehearing on TGP Pipeline

Date : Fri, 21 Sep 2012 12:38:11 -0400

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Senator Menendez Requests Rehearing on TGP Pipeline

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) Northeast Upgrade Project may have hit a new snag.Senator Robert Menendez has submitted a request for a rehearing or appeal of the project's federal approval.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project in May, over significant environmental, public health, and safety concerns.The new pipeline would cut under the sources of two of New Jersey's most important drinking water supplies: the Delaware River and the Monksville Reservoir.The project targets public open spaces with 50% of construction taking place on lands held in the public trust.The New Jersey Sierra Club and other environmental groups also filed a rehearing request at the end of June.A rehearing is the first in the appeals process.

"We thank Senator Menendez for standing with the people of New Jersey, not the natural gas industry.Senator Menendez is holding FERC to a higher standard and asking them to spend more time reviewing this project which could have potentially devastating impacts on our water supply, open spaces, and clean energy future," said Jeff Tittel, Director NJ Sierra Club. "We believe this is the wrong project in the wrong place and one of the most destructive pipelines ever proposed in the United States.We applaud Senator Menendez for urging FERC to reopen this process and have a rehearing."

Senator Menendez has been a long time leader on clean energy, clean water, and protecting the Highlands region and Sterling Forest.Senator Menendez is an advocate for reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels and has promoted clean energy solutions and the green jobs they create.Senator Menendez was a co-sponsor of the Highlands Conservation Act and supported expanding the Wallkill Refuge, which the 300 Line Project impacted.He has fought to increase protections for our waterways under the Clean Water Act.

FERC did not complete a full Environmental Impact Statement, the highest level of environmental review, for this project.Such a process would have required more public participation and a more thorough assessment of the potential impacts of the project.If they do not do a complete EIS or change this project as part of a rehearing the Sierra Club will go forward with litigation.

Even the New Jersey DEP requested that FERC wait to issue the environmental approvals for the project until TGP provided more and accurate information.However 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.

The Sierra Club is especially concerned with the impact the project will have on our waterways and drinking water supplies.The project cuts across numerous steep slopes in the Highlands and Kittatinny Ridge, where erosion is hardest to control.The company's erosion control methods do not workas seen on the 300 Line project completed in November.Best Management Practices established by the Soil Conservation District only cut erosions impacts by 50% on flat land, and this percentage declines as the terrain becomes steeper.Heavy soil erosion and sedimentation of waterways, as we are seeing now at Lake Lookover as a result of TGP's construction, can lead to outbreaks of the parasite cryptosporidian, which cause intestine infections.Sedimentation of these waterbodies could increase water treatment costs.

TGP is proposing to use horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under the Monksville Reservoir and Delaware River but this does not erase all concerns.Use of HDD will require large workspaces on either side of the waterbodies, typically bigger than what is used for the traditional open cut.These workspaces will have to be graded and clear cut, resulting in sedimentation impacts.HDD requires the use of bentonite clays to lubricate the drill.Although nontoxic if these clays accidentally spill into the waterbodies it could result in fish kills and destruction of aquatic ecosystems by lowering available dissolved oxygen.Use of HDD does not address sedimentation impacts from construction on the steep slopes leading directly into the Monksville Reservoir which will have an open cut.

TGP has a dismal track record on mitigation and reducing impacts from their projects in the region.The 300 Line Project in Wantage, Vernon, and West Milford was completed in November.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 all problems from their first project.We continue to feel the impacts of the company's last project in the area that was completed in November, which should serve as an alarm bell and stop this project from moving forward.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 and that is why need FERC to grant a rehearing," said Jeff Tittel.

The Northeast Upgrade 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.

"Senator Menendez continues to be a leader on clean energy and open space issues by requesting a rehearing on this polluting pipeline.He has stepped up where Governor Christie has not to ensure our water supplies, open spaces, and critical resources are not harmed by this project," said Jeff Tittel. by UNITED STATES SENATE

On 9192012, the following Filing was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Washington D.C.:

Filer: UNITED STATES SENATE

Docket(s): CP11-161-000 Filing Type: Request for Rehearing or Appeal Description: United States Senate submits the application for a rehearing re the Tennessee Gas Northeast Upgrade Project slated for construction in New Jersey under CP11-161.

To view the document for this Filing, click here http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20120919-0029   

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Please do not respond to this email. Online help is available here: http://www.ferc.gov/efiling-help.asp or for phone support, call 866-208-3676. Comments and Suggestions can be sent to this email address:mailto:FERCOnlineSupport_at_Ferc.gov

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