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Transco Pipeline Diversions Approved by State House Commission

Date : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 12:59:22 -0500


For Immediate Release
December 6, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100 Kate Millsaps, 732 814 6849

Transco Pipeline Diversion Approved by State House Commission Today the State House Commission voted to approve the diversion of public land in Franklin Township (Hunterdon) for the Transco Northeast Supply Link Project.This pipeline expansion project will have significant impacts on the environment and clean energy future of not only the township and Hunterdon County, but the entire state.The Sierra Club objects to the use of public lands for polluting energy projects as a way to cut project costs.These energy companies target our public lands because they are appraised lower, and therefore cheaper to use, than privately held lands.The State House Commission did not do their job, approving this proposal to destroy our public lands for an inappropriate energy project.

"We are disappointed that the State House Commission approved yet another polluting fossil fuel project on our public lands.These pipelines do not belong on lands held in the public trust.We see demand for natural gas dropping, yet more and more pipelines are being proposed that cut across some of our most important public lands for both sensitive environmental resources and recreational opportunities.These lands are held in the public trust and mitigation plans cannot make up for what is being lost here," *said Kate Millsaps, program assistant, New Jersey Sierra Club*. This project puts a bull's eye on New Jersey's open space. It is cheaper to put the pipeline on public lands than negotiating with private landowners and Transco is trying to take advantage of that to push down project costs.Transco is paying Franklin Township $125,000 for an over 20 year lease.The money would go towards purchasing replacement land, but this is only for the "permanent" land diversions.The Township is not receiving any compensation for the almost 2 acres of "temporary" impacts.Transco should purchase replacement land for the use of this land because the impacts will not be temporary but rather could take decadesto recover.With construction we will see soil compaction, more invasive species, and increased runoff and erosion. The project would have significant impacts on the Highlands region, drinking water supplies, steep slopes, 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. This project is being pushed by suppliers fracking in the Marcellus Shale gas fields.This technology is producing a glut of natural gas, but actual industrial, commercial, and residential customer demand remains flat.The 2010 U.S. Energy Information Administration /International Energy Outlook/ found that between 1999 and 2009, total natural gas consumption for _all sectors_ decreased by 13.3% in New Jersey and 10.4% in New York. 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. Transco received approval from FERC for the project in November.Clinton Township and environmental and community groups have requested a rehearing on the project. The 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. Resolutions opposing the pipeline project have been passed by several communities along the Transco right-of-way.Clinton Township, Union, Readington, Nutley, and Ridgefield have all passed resolutions as well as Hunterdon County.

"Today the State House Commission took the side of dirty fossil fuels over the people of New Jersey.The Commission put the interests of a gas company and gas drillers before protecting our water supply," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*.

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