The Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project – Pollution without Justification
Williams/Transco is proposing to build a massive new fossil fuel expansion project called the Northeast Supply Enhancement (“NESE”) Project.
If approved, the project will result in widespread significant environmental harm. The project also poses risks to public health and safety from the resuspension of toxic sediment.
What is Being Proposed?
The construction of: (1) a massive new gas-fired compressor station in Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ, and (2) a 23.4 mile fossil fuel pipeline that will rip through New Jersey, Raritan Bay, and Lower New York Bay to bring fracked-methane gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to New York City and Long Island, NY.
Williams Failed to Show Need for Project:
Williams/Transco failed to justify the project as needed to meet growing energy needs in NYC and Long Island.
Williams claims natural gas consumption will increase by 10% over the next decade; however, the company has refused to provide evidence to support this claim and has requested the data be kept from the public record.
350 Brooklyn produced an independent report that outlines that the project is not needed. The report utterly rejects Williams’ playbook of disinformation and holding energy needs hostage.
NY Independent System Operator (the independent body in charge of tracking NY’s energy demand) and the US Energy Information Administration both forecast a flat or decreased natural gas demand in the region.
The report criticizes the underlying assumptions used by Williams to justify the unneeded pipeline. Williams maintains NESE is needed to meet a growing demand which will be jump-started by upcoming conversions from home heating oil to natural gas. The report shows that virtually all home heating oil customers have already converted years ago.
Williams Profits Regardless of the Demand for Natural Gas:
Even if the project is unnecessary, Williams and Transco will profit. Federal regulations allow for Williams to receive 14% return on the equity of the project regardless of necessity.
Failed Extortion by National Grid:
National Grid is the gas utility contracted to purchase the capacity from the NESE Project. After both the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and NJ Department of Environmental Protection rejected permits for the proposed project in June 2019, the company issued a moratorium on all new natural gas hook-ups until the project was approved. The company even went so far as to pressure its customers to lobby elected officials to get the project approved.
New York regulators investigated whether the moratorium was necessary and found that there was no justification that National Grid could not meet demand unless the pipeline was approved. National Grid was fined 35 million dollars and forced to connect all new customers.