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Senator Buono Requests Rehearing on TGP Pipeline

Date : Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:06:22 -0500

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Senator Buono Requests Rehearing on TGP Pipeline

State Senator Barbara Buono has joined US Senator Robert Menendez in requesting a rehearing on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's (TGP) Northeast Upgrade Project.Senator Buono has submitted a request for a rehearing on 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 Buono for standing with the people of New Jersey, not the natural gas industry.Senator Buono is calling on FERC to grant community members more time to comment on this potentially devastating project that will impact our public lands and drinking water supply watershed lands," 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 Buono for urging FERC to reopen this process and have a rehearing." Senator Buono has been a leader on protecting New Jersey from the dangerous impacts of fracking in the Marcellus Shale, which the TGP pipeline is being built to serve.Senator Buono has voted to prohibit the use of dangerous hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, drilling in New Jersey and supported banning the disposal of toxic fracking waste in our state.She has also called on the Delaware River Basin Commission to keep the current moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin in place until cumulative impact studies are completed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the true impacts of using hydraulic fracturing in the Basin are known. 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 Buono continues to be a leader on clean energy and open space issues by requesting a rehearing on this polluting pipeline.She 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.

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Received on 2012-11-15 13:06:22

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