“It is imperative that the NJDEP consider the cumulative impacts of the Garden State Expansion project and Southern Reliability Link proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas,” said Carleton Montgomery, executive director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “Not only do these projects fail to meet the NJ DEP criteria for ‘independent utilities,’ but their combined and interacting water impacts need to be reviewed under the requirements of the Clean Water Act and the Pinelands Protection Act as part of a single and complete project.”
The legislation that Watson Coleman will propose aims to strengthen oversight of proposed pipelines like PennEast by requiring FERC to conduct either a full evidentiary hearing or a cumulative review of major energy infrastructure projects that are planned throughout a region to determine if there is need for a project.
FERC recently announced a schedule that delays its review of the project by as much as a year. In a press release on April 4, 2016, PennEast acknowledged the delay, stating: “Based on a preliminary review, PennEast anticipates an in-service date in the second half of 2018 rather than late 2017.”
FERC continues to request missing information from PennEast needed to complete the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. FERC’s most recent request made on June 3 highlights missing alternatives analyses and surveys of critical wildlife habitats.
Twenty-two plaintiffs, ages 8 to 19, let it be known that even the youngest shall be heard in regard to the continued use of fossil fuels that are affecting our climate and the impact this will have on future generations. According to a recent Forbes article, Judge Thomas Coffin of the United States Federal District in Eugene, Oregon, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit against the federal government, alleging that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by promoting the use of fossil fuels.
“The BPU violated the Pinelands Protection Act and Comprehensive Management Plan in approving this pipeline, while purporting to waive all local government reviews that would normally take place under Pinelands and municipal land use laws,” said Carleton Montgomery, executive director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “At the same time, the Pinelands Commission simply declined to review and vote on the project. The Pinelands cannot survive if the key agency charged with protecting it simply fails to review the largest developments we have seen in many years.”