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Hearing on Water Withdrawals for Destructive Pipeline

Date : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 12:56:15 -0500

PUBLIC HEARING* Monday, December 3rd at 10am** Hardyston Twp. Municipal Building in the Municipal Court and Meeting Room 149 Wheatsworth Rd, Suite A** Hardyston NJ 07419*

/ For Immediate Release/
November 30, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, 609-558-9100 Kate Millsaps, Conservation Program Coordinator, 732-814-6849

Hearing on Water Withdrawals for Destructive Pipeline

Drilling and testing of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) project will require large amounts of water to be withdrawn from local waterways and discharged, potentially impacting wildlife and flooding.On Monday morning the DEP will hold a hearing in Hardyston on five dewatering permits being requested by the company for the Northeast Upgrade project.TGP is requesting to divert water from the Delaware River and Monksville Reservoir in order to drill underneath them through horizontal directional drilling.Horizontal directional drilling practices could have a major impact on these two drinking water supplies if bentonite clays are released in the drilling process, including causing major fish kills.They are also requesting permission for activities in Wantage, Ringwood, and Mahwah.This project is located in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of New Jersey and through critical water supply watershed lands.Opposing these dewatering permits is a critical step in preventing this project from impacting our water supplies and the Delaware River and Monksville Reservoir.

"The DEP must stop the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's Northeast Upgrade project from impacting some of our most critical drinking water supplies by denying these dewatering permits.We need the DEP to stand up for the Monksville Reservoir, the Delaware River, our groundwater supplies, and the 2.5 million people in the region who depend on these drinking water supplies and reject these permits," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*.

The dewatering permits impact Category One streams and Highlands Waters where there should be "no measurable or calculable change" in water quality under the Surface Waters standards in the Clean Water Act.These withdrawals will cause degradation because the will drop stream flow, increasing pollutant loads.The drilling and construction of the pipeline will put particulates, sediments, and other pollutants into the waterways.Much of the construction will be on steep slopes resulting in significant erosion and sedimentation impacts to waterways, as seen at Lake Lookover during the construction of the company's 300 Line Project last year.

"These streams are so important that they are protected by anti-degradation criteria that the DEP must uphold.That is their job and it is also the law.Based on what we know already they have to deny the permit," said Jeff Tittel. The company is proposing to withdraw approximately 185 million gallons from our waterways and groundwater supplies in Northwestern New Jersey, the amount of water that can serve a town of 18,000 people.This is a depletive use, taking that water away from the water supplies of local towns and communities that have paid to protect those reservoirs.There is not much of a difference between taking surface or ground water because taking the groundwater impacts the reservoirs, impacting water supply. 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 and that is why we are asking for the rehearing," said Tittel.

In addition to challenging these permits the Sierra Club and other environmental groups are requesting a rehearing of the project's federal approval before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).FERC approved the project at the end of May.A rehearing is the first in the appeals process.

During the preparation of the Environmental Assessment for the project at the federal level the DEP raised major concerns about the crossing of the Monksville Reservoir.There are ongoing issues with impacts this project will have on this drinking water supply reservoir and the DEP should deny these permits to stop drilling beneath this waterbody.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 last November and there are still ongoing negative impacts 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.

"This company has destroyed our forests and waterways before and we are still seeing the consequences.We must not give them a second chance, especially when the stakes are so high with the crossings under the Delaware River and Monksville Reservoir.This company had hundreds of violations on its last project in the region, we cannot allow that to happen again in a region that provides drinking water to millions of state residents," *said Kate Millsaps, Conservation Program Coordinator, NJ Sierra Club*.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-12-06 09:56:15

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