ACTION ALERT: Send Comments to NJDEP by November 20, 2018

DO SOMETHING YOU’LL BE THANKFUL FOR

Speak up for the health, safety & environment of your family, friends and future generations.

Deadline:  Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This is the last date that the NJDEP will consider comments on the Freshwater Wetlands Permit Application of Williams/Transco for the Compressor Station 206 and onland part of the pipeline by Raritan Bay.

REMEMBER:  If all permits are not obtained, the Compressor Station 206 and pipeline near and under the Raritan Bay cannot be built. 

Over 300 concerned residents went to the NJDEP Hearing on November 5, and the 3-minute comments were still being made past 11:00 PM.  That was an amazing showing, but more is needed.

As Abraham Lincoln said in the Lincoln-Douglas debate of 1858,

Public sentiment is everything.
With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.”

This is the time for all to make their concerns known to the NJDEP.  The power of many is needed to stop the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project from creating risks to our health and safety.  Every comment matters!

COMMENT SAMPLES (.docx):

  1. Incomplete Application that is also not compliant with Stormwater Management Rules
  2. Application does not meet “public need” or “public interest” requirements – long & short versions
  3. Application has concerning impacts on wetlands
  4. Application threatens habitats for threatened & endangered species
  5. Health issues related to Freshwater Wetlands Permit Application
  6. Safety issues related to Freshwater Wetlands Permit Application
  7. Summary of Concerns with the Freshwater Wetlands Permit Application

As Margaret Mead said,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful concerned citizens can change the world.
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

ACTION ALERT: NJDEP Hearing Monday, November 5

NJDEP scheduled a Hearing for the Wetlands Permit Application for NESE and Compressor Station 206.  See the attached notice.

Show up to let NJDEP know what you think about the proposed Compressor Station 206 & the pipeline in Sayreville & Old Bridge that is planned to also go through Raritan Bay.

DATE:  Monday, November 5, 2018

STARTING TIME:  6:00 PM

PLACE:  Franklin Twp. High School – Auditorium – 500 Elizabeth Ave., Somerset, NJ 08873

Fact-Finding Meetings: 

  • NJDEP staff will facilitate the meeting.
  • People usually get 3 minutes to speak at a microphone in front of the group about their concerns, and a stenographer records it.  It’s not like the FERC meeting where you went into a separate room.
  • Pre-written comments can be submitted at the meeting & can be sent after the meeting.
  • We do expect that pro-NESE people will be there to voice their support (like they were at the FERC public meetings), so we want to have many concerned folks there to tell NJDEP why we do not want NESE.
  • You do not need to be there at 6:00, but if you want to speak, you’ll need to sign-up when you arrive.

Then, NJDEP will give a time period and address for sending them more written comments. 

NJDEP has 90 days after holding fact-finding meetings to issue their decision.

From another hearing, NJDEP provided the following directions:

PUBLIC HEARING RULES OF CONDUCT

The purpose of the hearing is to gather public comment from anyone who wishes to speak. Any action taken by any person that prevents the public from commenting is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Anyone who violates these rules of conduct may be removed from the hearing.

  • No signs mounted on sticks, or otherwise attached to an object, are allowed within the auditorium
  • No food or drink is allowed within the auditorium
  • Please remain seated until called forward to provide comment
  • No interrupting when someone is speaking
  • No unruly/disruptive behavior (i.e. yelling, chanting, use of foul language)
  • Testimony will be limited to three minutes per speaker

The Department thanks you for your cooperation and participation in this public process

New Jersey’s Attorney General and others wrote to FERC about their Policies & Procedures.

New Jersey’s Attorney General joined with 6 other Attorneys General in a 36-page submission to FERC when FERC asked for input about revising their policies and procedures.  (on 7/25/18 on Docket No. PL18-1). In it, they detail and support their recommendations:

First, regarding project need, we recommend that the Commission assess need on a comprehensive, regional basis, and expand its analysis beyond the current dependence on precedent agreements, employing heightened scrutiny of precedent agreements with affiliates of project proponents.

Second, we urge the Commission to conduct a more thorough and robust NEPA analysis, comprehensively assessing on a regional basis the impacts of, and alternatives to, a proposed project, considering clean energy and other non-pipeline alternatives, thoroughly analyzing upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions, and considering state greenhouse gas emission-reduction policies.

Third, we recommend that the Commission consider environmental harm, including climate impacts quantified using the best available measure—the Social Cost of Carbon—and more heavily weigh the harm from use of eminent domain takings in its public interest assessment when balancing project benefits and harm in making a Certificate decision.

Fourth, we urge the Commission to better incorporate and consider state environmental and land use policies, no longer issue Certificates conditioned on later receipt of state certifications and permits under federal statutes, and to condition Certificates on obtaining and complying with state and local permits that do not unreasonably conflict with or delay approved projects.

Finally, we recommend that the Commission no longer issue partial notices to proceed with construction when Certificate rehearing requests are pending and limit the use and time of tolling periods for rehearing requests.

Click to read the full document from the Attorneys General (7/25/18, PDF)

Send comments to the NJDEP

  • Commissioner Catherine McCabe: Commissioner@dep.nj.gov
  •  Director Ruth Foster: Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov

Williams/Transco submitted new applications for water permits (Freshwater Wetlands, Flood Hazard Area Control, Coastal Wetlands, & Waterfront Development) on June 19, 2018.

  • Tell NJDEP that you want them to hold two (2) public fact-finding meetings – one by the Raritan Bay (Old Bridge / Sayreville) and one by the proposed Compressor Station 206 area (Franklin Township / South Brunswick).
  • Tell NJDEP that you expect them to deny the permits unless they obtain and carefully review all needed information and actually find that the proposed project would not cause harm to the environment, people or wildlife.
  •  Tell NJDEP that an increase in reliance on fossil fuels for energy does not support New Jersey’s goal to transition to renewables and clean energy.

Sign the letter to NJDEP and either mail it or give it to a member of the Task Force to mail
Click here for link to the letter to print, sign & mail

NOTE: A request for fact-finding meetings needs to be in writing to NJDEP and received in Trenton by August 3.

2018-05-08 Montgomery Township posts to FERC opposition

Special thanks to Montgomery Township for posting resolution #18-5-112 opposing CP17-101 to FERC on 5/8/2018.  

Includes Memorandum from Montgomery Township Mayor

MT-Mayor_Conforti_Memo

Montgomery Resolution #18-5-112 

MT-Montgomery_res-18-5-112

Map of area where proposed compressor CS206 is relative to Montgomery Township.

MT-map with cs206

FERC acknowledges adverse impact to Princeton Area, but refuses to perform environmental impact analyses.  Instead the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) issued by FERC on 3/24/2018 states reasons why FERC doesn’t believe assessing the toxic chemical emissions and high heat/ high discharge of the 50-foot smokestacks.  The DEIS acknowledges real threats, but doesn’t bother to analyze impact or mitigation possibilities – core components of a legitimate DEIS.  The DEIS only underscores that CP17-101 is a Public Threat to New Jersey and not a public convenience.

Montgomery Township and Franklin Township have both sent strong rebukes of the none-material DEIS.  We need more municipalities standing up to this sham to protect the residents of New Jersey.

 

10 days left to comment on NESE DEIS – Ends May 14, 2018

Excellent note from EELC today.  Excellent results from Princeton University team efforts, I love seeing the motions to intervene and comments cascading in my inbox.  Great news that Montgomery Township passed RESOLUTION #18-5-112 opposing CP17-101.  Now we need them to post it to FERC.

There are only 10 days including today.  Several communities have stated they will try to get comments in from their communities.  If anyone has questions or wants clarifications, send it out to the team (stopftcompressor [at] yahoo [dot] com) and you will receive a response.  Surfrider has great comment suggestions and our team has provided a few.  If you have not submitted comments and you are on this distribution list, please make those comments now.

Good attributes for comments:

  1. I oppose this project, I am a registered intervenor.
  2. How it directly impacts you – this will impact people in many different ways even people not in PA/NJ/NYC and that is completely legitimate.
  3. Highlight areas where FERC decided not to assess impact or completely missed.
  4. Identify areas where FERC acknowledges impact as rational that this is currently a Public Threat (not a public convenience) until FERC assesses and mitigates impacts.
  5. Reject the notion that this DEIS statement reflects an actual draft environmental impact statement.  It doesn’t.

Please also email NJDEP and ask why your elected officials have not sent comments after the DEIS.  This is also their critical time to take a stand to protect New Jersey.

10 days,
please make your voice count against
this imminent threat to our area.

Some Denied Permits: Hope Amid Chaos

Though there appear to be attempts in Washington D.C. to undo environmental protections and grant FERC more power through proposed legislation and actions of the EPA and Department of the Interior, there have been some encouraging developments in the courts and with state agencies that have supported protections of air and water quality.

 

FERC’S ANALYSIS OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS WAS FOUND TO
BE INADEQUATE SINCE IT DID NOT CONSIDER EMISSIONS FROM THE PIPELINE TO THE END USE OF THE GAS


August 21, 2017 – Sierra Club v. FERC, Case No. 16-1329
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had not properly analyzed the effects of burning natural gas on climate change before approving the pipeline. They ruled that FERC must consider a pipeline’s cumulative downstream greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of the natural gas transported by the pipeline as part of its environmental review. This ruling vacated and remanded a 2016 Order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that had authorized construction and operation of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project (Project) by granting Section 7 certificates to three natural gas pipelines in Alabama, Georgia and Florida that make up the Project :

  • Florida Southeast Connection, LLC (Florida Southeast Connection Project
  • Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Hillabee Expansion Project)
  • Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail Project)

Docket #s CP14-554-000, CP15-16-000, CP15-17-000

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ferc-failed-to-adequately-consider-29867/

 

NYSDEC DENIAL OF CONSTITUTION PIPELINE CWA PERMIT
WAS UPHELD BY THE SECOND CIRCUIT COURT


Constitution Pipeline (CP13-499) – NY State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Denial of Water Permit was upheld in court where, on August 18, 2017, the US Court of Appeals – 2nd Circuit concluded: “Insofar as the petition contends that the NYSDEC Decision is a nullity on the ground that it was untimely, the petition is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; to the extent that the petition challenges the NYSDEC Decision on the merits, the petition is denied.” Note: FERC approved the Constitution Pipeline project in 2014.

https://www.pipelinelaw.com/2016/08/05/constitution-pipeline-cases-reflect-tension-in-states-roles-in-permitting-natural-gas-projects/
https://www.pipelinelaw.com/2017/08/31/second-circuit-upholds-state-veto-constitution-pipeline-project-via-denial-water-quality-certification/

 

NJDEP DENIED PENNEAST PIPELINE’S
CLEAN WATER ACT (CWA) PERMIT


6/28/17: Noting that the Clean Water Act (CWA 401 and 404) permit applications were very incomplete for PennEast, the NJDEP denied their applications for permits. PennEast (CP15-558) could not complete the surveys needed for their permit applications because over 65% of NJ’s landowners did not allow them onto their property. However, if PennEast receives a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from FERC, they will then have the authority to gain access to properties for the surveying needed for these permits, and they will likely then reapply for the CWA 401 and 404 permits.

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2017/06/nj_dep_denies_permits_needed_for_penneast_pipeline.html

 

NJ’S RATE COUNCIL DECLARED THAT THERE IS NO NEED
FOR BUILDING THE PENNEAST PIPELINE
& THE REQUESTED RATE OF RETURN WAS EXCESSIVE


https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3106853/Comments-of-the-New-Jersey-Division-of-Rate.pdf
is in 9/12/16 in FERC Accession No. 20160912-6003(31683531)

 

NYSDEC DENIED A WATER PERMIT, BUT FERC DECIDED THAT NYSDEC “WAIVED” THEIR RIGHT TO ISSUE OR DENY A PERMIT SINCE THE DECISION WAS OVER A YEAR AFTER THE INITIAL APPLICATION


On 8/30/17, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation conditionally denied Section 401 Water Quality Certification stream crossing permits for Millennium’s proposed 7.8 mile Valley Lateral pipeline project (C)P16-17). Then, at a 9/17/17 FERC hearing, it was “clarified” that the one-year period to review an application for the Water Quality Certificate started with “receipt” of application – not after determining it was “complete”.

http://www.bakerbotts.com/ideas/publications/2017/09/ferc-rules-that-new-york-state

 

WEST VIRGINIA REVOKES CWA 401 PERMIT IN WAKE OF HURRICANES HARVEY AND IRMA & WILL NOW REVIEW IT MORE THOROUGHLY UNDER WV’s STREAM ANTI-DEGRADATION POLICY


Sept. 7, 2017 – WVDEC revoked the Section 401 Water Quality Certification that they issued for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project (March 2017 & reaffirmed May 2017) one day before they would have needed to defend this in Court. (FERC Docket No. CP16-10). This came after a lawsuit by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of plaintiffs who argued the DEP’s analysis of the project’s effect on water quality in West Virginia was woefully incomplete.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pipelines-bombshell-west-virginia-revokes-approval_us_59bb2c3ae4b06b71800c380c

October 10/11, 2017: 4th Circuit sent the WQ permit back to WVDEP for further review.

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/special_reports/marcellus/court-ruling-highlights-unanswered-questions-on-mountain-valley-pipeline/article_044cd2d7-83ce-5ab3-9567-00bb6e2b92fd.html

 

NORTH CAROLINA DEQ DELAYS DECISION ON
WATER QUALITY PERMIT


Sept. 14, 2017 – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued notice to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that the project “involves numerous stream crossings that have the potential to affect downstream water quality both temporarily during construction and permanently.” (CP15-554) The department noted that “more site-specific detail is necessary to ensure that downstream water quality is protected.” The Governor delayed the Water Quality permit decision until December.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/north-carolina-environmental-agency-delays-decision-on-water-quality-permit/article_b3acc74b-2b20-5bcc-b89f-3233fe07d7d5.html

Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE) Overview

Goal of Williams/Transco for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE):

  • Deliver 400,000 dekatherms/day of natural gas to NYC
  • Williams/Transco already has a commitment from National Gas to buy this gas.

In Pennsylvania, they plan to add:

  • a 10-mile, 42-inch pipeline loop of Mainline D in Lancaster County, PA; and
  • a 21,902 horsepower electric-powered compressor unit at STA200, Chester County, PA (where there are already 13 compressor units)

Plans for New Jersey

Raritan Bay Loop Pipeline
Sayreville, NJ into Raritan Bay

Madison Loop Pipeline
Old Bridge & Sayreville, NJ

23.49-mile, 26-inch loop (0.16 mile onshore and 23.33 miles offshore) of Transco’s Lower New York Bay Lateral from Mile Post 12.00, southwest of the Morgan Meter & Regulator (M&R) Station in Sayreville, NJ to the Rockaway Transfer Point in New York State waters 3.43-mile, 26-inch loop of Transco’s Lower New York Bay Lateral from Compressor Station 207 at Mile Post 8.57 to Mile Post 12.00, southwest of the Morgan M&R Station

Compressor Station 206    Franklin Township (Somerset County)

new compressor station near Transco’s mainline,
consisting of two natural gas-powered turbine-driven compressor units
total horsepower: 32,000

Two 50-foot smokestacks where:

  • exhaust exits at 210,000 cubic feet per minute
  • exit temperature is 849.2 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Per Hour Release:  13 pounds of Carbon Monoxide

Williams/Transco:
Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Williams Partners Operating LLC, which is a subsidiary of Williams Partners L.P., which is a subsidiary of the Williams Companies, Inc.

 

Issues

  • The proposed compressor station would create air and noise problems that would affect Franklin Twp., South Brunswick, Montgomery & Princeton. Measurements of air quality are completed regionally and are averaged over time. Thus, monitoring of emissions in the air is not proposed to occur near the site, and measurement is not proposed to account for fluctuations where peak emissions are especially problematic. Additionally, all known carcinogenic emissions from compressor stations are not measured at nearby residences, places of workshop, etc.
  • Compressor stations pose serious health risks, especially for pregnant women, the elderly and the young, due to emissions that are planned, fugitive and accidental. Chemicals emitted from compressor stations include known carcinogens.
  • There is a history of catastrophic accidents at compressor stations and transmission pipelines, and an accident could result in deaths/injuries, destruction of property, limited potential for residents to evacuate, and devastation to the waterfront and waters of the Raritan Bay.
  • Increasing compression to transport natural gas through aging pipelines is a safety concern due to the increased velocity/heat of the moving gas and hastening of pipeline corrosion that could result in an explosion.
  • Though a segment of pipeline on Trap Rock Quarry property was replaces in the late 1980’s, there is no publicly available information about the age of the other pipeline associated with this project which, as far as it is known, were constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Additionally, according to a Pipeline Safety Trust analysis of federal data, new pipelines are failing at a rate on par with gas transmission lines installed before the 1940s.
  • The NJ Buddhist Vihara & Medication Center borders the property where CS 206 is proposed. The noise, odor and emissions from the compressor station threaten their religious practice of walking meditation on trails which extend to the site of the compressor station. It is not known what effect the noise and pollution could have on their Buddha Statue which is the largest outdoor Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere and a Cultural Landmark in Franklin Township.
  • Plans for construction of the compressor station and pipelines are near Superfund Sites.
  • There is not adequate water service in the area of the proposed compressor station to address potential accidents.
  • The habitat in/near the Bay would be disrupted during construction for marine mammals, fish, shellfish and horseshoe crabs that rely on it. Dangers of vessel strikes, accidental fluid releases, and disruption of the seafloor are concerns.
  • Sea mammals (Gray Seal, Harbor Seal, Harp Seal, North Atlantic Right Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbor Porpoise, & Short-Beaked Common Dolphin) are expected to be affected by exposure to seismic activity such that Williams/Transco will apply for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to account for sound pressure from construction that has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].
  • Tourism and commercial fishing activities in the Raritan Bay area would be impacted by construction that is planned to occur for 9 months, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (weather permitting).
  • For a project like this, there is no public vote; local ordinances can be ignored; and there is limited public input. The US Congress is working to increase the authority of FERC while lessening the rights of States to protect the public through their determinations about required air and water permits.

Learn more, read the information packet from the South Brunswick Informational Meeting held by Food and Water Watch.