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Enviro Groups Request Rehearing on Destructive Pipeline

Date : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 12:57:32 -0500

For Immediate Release
December 4, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100 William J. Schulte, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Eastern Environmental Law Center, 973-424-1485

Enviro Groups Request Rehearing on Destructive Pipeline Today environmental and community interveners and Clinton Township submitted a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a rehearing on the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company's (Transco) Northeast Supply Link Project.FERC approved the project in early November as communities impacted by the pipeline were experiencing power outages and other problems following Hurricane Sandy.The project crosses habitat for federally threatened species and major drinking water supply watershed lands, including the Raritan River which provides drinking water to over one million state residents.The groups charge there were both procedural and substantive deficiencies with the approval.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.A rehearing is the first in the appeals process.

"We are asking for a rehearing to get FERC to do the job they should have done in the first place. We believe strongly that FERC did not do a proper environmental analysis and should have done a full Environmental Impact Statement. We believe they violated the NEPA process and they need to have a re-hearing to correct their mistake," said Jeff Tittel, Director NJ Sierra Club. "They did not look at the impacts to human health and water supply, endangered species, open space, and historic resources. They did not look at the secondary impacts from fracking. We believe this is the wrong project in the wrong place and FERC needs to reopen this process and have a rehearing." The cumulative impacts of the project were not fully reviewed by FERC.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.Fracking is causing tremendous air and water pollution right now in Pennsylvania.FERC did not consider the impacts of Marcellus Shale development in its review of the cumulative impacts of the pipeline expansion and the groups are filing a rehearing request to have those issues addressed.

"The oil and gas industry would have us believe that natural gas is some type of silver bullet solution to all of our energy challenges. But the reality is much different. The obtrusive infrastructure and industrialization of our landscape that natural gas requires are just a few of many reasons why we should be investing in true renewable energy solutions, not fossil fuel pipelines," *said Jim Walsh, Regional Director for Food & Water Watch*. The project will have significant impacts on the Highlands region, drinking water supplies, 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. The pipeline will impact public lands that belong to all of us in the South Branch Reservation and Cramer's Creek in Clinton Township.

"It is the responsibility of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to do their due diligence for the Northeast Supply Link project. They failed to do their job and they failed the public when they issued Transco a certificate for construction without requiring a full Environmental Impact Statement," *said Erica Van Auken, Campaign Coordinator for the New Jersey Highlands Coalition*. "We are asking FERC to reconsider this decision due to the serious environmental impacts this project will have on the Highlands." The FERC did not fully review all the impacts of this project through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the highest level of study.Instead they held the company to a weaker review.Groups had called on FERC to require an EIS to ensure the project will not impact drinking water supplies and critical habitat, and granting a rehearing would be the first step towards getting an EIS completed. The Northeast Supply Link project 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. Transco filed a formal application with FERC for the project in December.Eastern Environmental Law Center filed the rehearing request on behalf of the New Jersey Sierra Club, Clinton Township, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Fight the Pipe, and Food and Water Watch.

"FERC is not protecting our environment, they are protecting the profits of the fossil fuel industry.There is no way you can put a pipeline this destructive through so many environmentally sensitive features without a direct impact to water quality, threatened & endangered habitat or contiguous forests.We need FERC to grant a rehearing so that we can fully analyze those impacts," *said Kate Millsaps, conservation program coordinator, Sierra Club.*

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Received on 2012-12-06 09:57:32

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