FERC and NJDEP Urged to Deny Proposal
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (Sept. 28, 2015) – U.S. Rep. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.), Senator Kip Bateman (R-Somerset) and Assemblywoman Liz Muoio (D-Mercer) joined with local officials, citizens groups and conservation groups to urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency and N.J. Department of Environmental Protection to deny PennEast’s application to construct a proposed 118-mile natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
“This pipeline is a threat to environmentally sensitive land, water resources, habitat for endangered species, and the property of many New Jersey families. Despite all these risks, the application Penn East submitted last week surveyed just 26 percent of the proposed pipeline’s path. There are more than enough existing and approved pipelines cutting through our communities. With no clear benefit to New Jersey families, I urge FERC not to add another one,” said Coleman Watson.
Bateman reiterated his prior request to FERC to “stop the development of the PennEast Pipeline. “The taxpayers of New Jersey, Hunterdon County, and Delaware Township, as well as foundations, individual donors, and farmers/landowners, have invested approximately $7.4 million to permanently preserve properties along the pipeline’s proposed route. To the very best of our knowledge, no pipeline has ever been developed in a more bucolic, previously preserved and historically significant and designated area,” said Bateman in a letter to FERC.
“Ironically, just as the rest of the world finally comes to accept that we are facing a point of no return and the fate of our environment rests on our ability to shift to renewable energy sources — here in New Jersey PennEast seeks to profit by laying miles of new fossil fuel pipeline, scarring acres of environmentally sensitive lands that have remained pristine only after decades of hard-fought and successful preservation. FERC must deny the application for this unwanted and unnecessary pipeline,” said Muoio.
“Over the past 20 years, New Jersey has taken bold actions to protect the integrity of our waterways and drinking water supplies. Water is in short supply in our state and the current drought-like conditions demonstrate this. The PennEast pipeline would be constructed through 31 of the state’s most important (waterways and wetlands causing irrevocable damage. NJDEP recognized the importance of these waterways when it designated them as category one waters. FERC and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection must recognize that designation and protect these critical waterways,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association.
“Increasing the state’s reliance on renewable energy, rather than building more fossil fuel pipelines, will reduce costs to residents and businesses, create thousands of good, sustainable jobs, and result in a cleaner environment,” said Michele Byers, executive director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation.
Residents and landowners have spent over a year commenting to FERC about inaccuracies and misrepresentations in PennEast’s reports, according to Patty Cronheim, Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast pipeline. “It is up to FERC now to reject PennEast’s fiction and recognize that this pipeline isn’t needed and would cause irreparable damage and risk to our residents and communities,” said Cronheim.
“I call on FERC, NJDEP, PADEP, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies involved to do a thorough job in evaluating this project’s questionable purpose and need, and to weigh that against the enormous environmental, social, historical, personal and financial impact it’s going to have on the people of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Do not allow PennEast to rush the regulatory process that is so vital in protecting the people and environment of our two states,” said Michael Spille, West Amwell Citizens Against the Pipeline.
The proposed pipeline would cut a swath through more than 4,000 acres of preserved open space and farmland, 31 of the state’s cleanest and most ecologically significant streams, and many private properties and communities.
Experts have questioned the need for the PennEast pipeline in New Jersey, noting that it would result in a 53% surplus above the current consumption of natural gas.