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Sierra Club Opposes Transco Pipeline in Federal Filing

Date : Mon, 01 Jul 2013 11:42:34 -0400

*/ For Immediate Release/*

July 1, 2013

Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

Sierra Club Opposes Transco Pipeline in Federal Filing

Today the Sierra Club and 33 environmental, community, and faith organizations submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling on the federal agency to deny a proposed gas pipeline expansion.Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company's (Transco) Leidy Southeast Expansion Project would cut through environmentally sensitive areas, important streams and forests, and critical habitat to carry gas produced through the dangerous technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.There is no need for this pipeline.The purpose is to promote

"There is no need for this pipeline.The purpose is to promote fracking and the burning of fossil fuels that impact clean water and promote climate change. This pipeline is going to go through environmentally sensitive areas creating an ugly scar, adding to pollution, and putting people at risk. Just ask the people of Bellingham Washington, Burlingame, California and Edison, NJ. This line not only threatens the neighborhoods it passes through but threatens our environment. Pennsylvania gets the money, New York gets the gas, and we get the pipe," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

The comments were submitted as part of the scoping process in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act.The groups outlined the numerous resources that would be negatively affected by the project from the Princeton Ridge to local air quality to climate change impacts and requested a more through environmental study, an Environmental Impact Statement, be prepared.Transco has yet to file all required environmental reports and groups urged FERC to extend the comment period, which closes today, until 30 days after all those reports are submitted for public review and comment.So far Transco has filed 2 of 13 Resource Reports and has stated they plan to submit the rest of the draft reports in late July.

"Until the public has access to the all the environmental documents, comments provided will be broad and best estimations.We have comment period first, access to project information later.We urge FERC to extend the comment period and hold a second round of scoping hearings after the environmental resource reports are submitted so that concerned citizens can submit specific comments that are informed by a better understanding of the project and its impacts," said Kate Millsaps, Conservation Program Coordinator, Sierra Club.

The groups also urged FERC to include the environmental impacts resulting from fracking as a cumulative impact of the project as the pipeline is being built to serve Marcellus Shale gas fields.The project will provide expanded capacity, allowing more drilling to move forward in the region and the consequences of that expansion should be examined as part of the review.

The scoping process is the first step in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act.During this time, all parties interested in the project --municipal bodies, environmental and community groups, land owners, concerned citizens- must submit their concerns on the public record.FERC will only look into issues raised during this portion of the review process in the environmental document.The scoping is especially important because citizens and groups cannot challenge the project in court after approval on the grounds of something not raised in the scoping process.This makes public input and access to the Resource Reports especially important.

Following the scoping hearings FERC will prepare a Draft EA which will either conclude there is a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or that more review is needed under an Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS).Due to the sensitive nature of the Princeton Ridge region and the numerous waterbodies the companies is proposing to cross with open cuts, environmental groups are urging FERC to prepare a full EIS for the project.

"A full Environmental Impact Statement is needed on this project due to the significant impacts the pipeline expansion will have on potential threatened and endangered species habitat, loss of forest cover and wetlands, threats to our public open spaces, intensifying and expanding the use of fracking in the Marcellus Shale and intensifying climate change," said Kate Millsaps.

Transco is in the pre-filing process and has not yet filed a formal application with FERC.The New Jersey Sierra Club is now exploring options to intervene in the proceedings before FERC.By intervening, individuals and groups can challenge the FERC approval and are considering next steps now.Groups, municipalities, and citizens cannot intervene until a formal application is filed.

The Leidy Southeast Expansion project would install over 12 miles of 42 inch pipeline in New Jersey.The Skillman Loop would run 6.36 miles through Princeton and Montgomery Townships. The Pleasant Run Loop would run 6.85 miles in Branchburg, Readington, and Clinton Townships.The Pennsylvania portions of the project are in Luzerne and Monroe counties.

Princeton Township, Readington Township, and Montgomery Township Municipal Councils have passed resolutions expressing concerns over the impacts of the project and requesting more information.

Transco is currently constructing 28 miles of new pipeline in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as part of the Northeast Supply Link project.That project also involves expanding the capacity of an existing pipeline in New Jersey.

"How many gas pipeline expansion project do we need across the state as the gas drillers are announcing they are decreasing production”These projects are all speculative and driven by the supply-side.They are not based on actual demand; if they were, they would not be built," said Jeff Tittel.
New Jersey Chapter,et al.

On 712013, the following Filing was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Washington D.C.:

Filer: Sierra Club- New Jersey Chapter
                        No Organization Found (as Agent)

Docket(s): PF13-5-000 Filing Type: Comment on Filing Description: Comment of Sierra Club- New Jersey Chapter, Food and Water Watch, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Raritan Headwaters Association and the undersigned organizations under PF13-5-000.

To view the document for this Filing, click here http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20130701-5090

To modify your subscriptions, click here:https://ferconline.ferc.gov/eSubscription.aspx

------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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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Received on 2013-07-01 08:42:34

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