12/9/19 Update

Williams/Transco withdrew all permit applications to NJDEP for the NESE Project on November 26, 2019, the day after National Grid & New York reached an agreement following National Grid’s moratorium on gas service.  

Williams/Transco will submit new applications “at a later date.”

Once again, NJDEP did not have/take the opportunity to deny permit applications for the NESE Project before all permit applications were withdrawn by Williams/Transco on 11/26/19.

  • For the Flood Hazard Area permit application which was “complete for review”, the DEP’s decision date deadline was 11/28/19.  
  • For the Coastal Wetlands & Waterfront Development applications along with a request for a Section 401 Water Quality Certification and Coastal Zone Consistency Determination, the decision date was 6/12/20 before Williams/Transco withdrew these applications on 10/25/19 and then reapplied – without anything new in the applications – on 10/28/19.  Those 10/28/19 applications were administratively complete but had not yet been declared technically complete (which is needed to be considered “complete for review”) before Williams/Transco withdrew them.

On 11/26/19, Williams/Transco wrote that they withdrew all applications for permits to afford the NJDEP additional time to review the application material and comply with the DEP’s timelines under NJ regulations.  The DEP has 90 calendar days (which can be extended by exactly 30 calendar days) to render a decision after an application is declared to be “complete for review”.

  • Publically available documents do not reveal that the DEP indicated in any way that they needed extra time for their review or that the DEP asked Williams/Transco to withdraw and resubmit permit applications so that they would have additional review time.
  • Given the response letter from the DEP’s Christopher Jones (11/27/19) following the withdrawal of applications, it appears that the permit applications still failed to meet the standards for approval.  He wrote that any subsequent new applications would need to address persistent deficiencies in the applications that pertain to (1) confirming that there is a compelling public need for the proposed additional natural gas capacity; (2) steps to show that the alternate access road to the proposed compressor station – that would avoid or minimize environmental impacts – is truly not a practicable alternative; and (3) providing information about monitoring the proposed in-water dredging operations to ensure that all best practices and operational procedures would be implemented and that there are adaptive management procedures that could be implemented in case dredging resulted in exceedance of surface water quality standards.
  • Williams/Transco has not indicated what they will do next other than writing that they will submit applications for the permits at a later date.  Note:  Prior letters withdrawing applications (6-14-18 & 10-25-19) noted that they would submit new applications in the coming days.
  • At this time, we do not know the plans of Williams/Transco to obtain permits needed for NESE.   Are they waiting to see National Grid’s plan for a long-term solution to meeting demand for gas that is due within 3 months?

RELATED ISSUE:

National Grid, the planned recipient of the additional natural gas for New York from the NESE Project, has recently entered an agreement with NY that is outlined below.  This was in response to investigative actions following National Grid’s moratorium on new or reengaged gas service that was heightened after NYSDEC denied permits for the NESE Project in May 2019.  

The real need for more gas in this service area has been in question for a while.

National Grid’s 11-25-19 Agreement with NY

  1. National Grid promised that it will meet demand for the next 2 years.
  2. Within 3 months, National Grid will propose long-term solutions to gas supply issues in the region:
    • Reduce demand through energy efficiency & demand response programs (ask & expect more customers to shift to “non-firm” service – oil or other alternate fuel – and charge these customers differently , being able to penalize them if they do not switch)
    • Truck-in compressed natural gas
    • Long-term possibilities to be considered include renewable energy sources, conservation strategies, liquefied & compressed natural gas facilities, new natural gas pipeline, and/or NESE if it is the most viable & sustainable solution. 
    • Long-term plan needs to be approved by NY State by June 2020 to go into operation by the fall of 2021.
  3. $36 million penalty will be paid by National Grid to New York.
    • $7 million to compensate customers harmed by the moratorium
    • $8 million for new gas efficiency measures
    • $20 million as investment in clean energy businesses across NY State
  4. NY’s Public Service Commission will appoint a monitor to oversee National Grid’s operations & review compliance with this agreement over the next 2 years.  National Grid will pay for the monitor.
  5. National Grid will host public hearings.  At least one will be in Nassau County & another in Suffolk County.

Rally Against the NESE Project: By Land and Sea

Groups to Urge Governor Murphy to Stand Up for His Green Energy Agenda!

Saturday, September 14, 10:30am

Marine Park by the Pier, Red Bank, NJ

What:              Press conference and rally on the water and land urging Governor Murphy to deny the proposed Williams Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE) once and for all 

Who:               Concerned citizens and environmental, business and fishing groups, including: Central Jersey Environmental Defenders, Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, Clean Ocean Action, Environment New Jersey, Food and Water Watch, Indivisible Bayshore, J.T. White Clammers, Canyon Pass,  League of Women Voters of New Jersey, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, and Waterspirit

Where:            Marine Park by the Pier, Red Bank, NJ 07701

When:             Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 10:30am

Why:               Environmentalists, citizens and businesses are calling on Governor Murphy and the NJDEP to permanently deny the Williams NESE Project before the September 25th deadline.

Red Bank, NJ – As a critical deadline looms on the 3-year battle to stop the massive fracked natural gas project, Williams Transco Northeast Enhancement Supply (NESE), citizens are urged to attend a rally on the Navesink River to tell the Governor that the pending permits must be denied.  The NJDEP is obligated to make a final decision on the offshore pipeline section of the project by September 25, 2019, which put’s the Murphy Administration’s green energy agenda to the test.  Groups will urge that the decision be permanent, with no allowance to reapply.

NESE is the unnecessary, dirty, and environmentally destructive project designed to bring fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York City.  The NJDEP denied permits this past June; however, the type of denial allowed Williams Transco to reapply, which they did. 

A coalition of environmental, fishing, business and community groups has united to fight the pipeline and is hosting a rally to urge Governor Murphy to deny the permits again, and this time to do so with provisions that prohibit reapplication.   The rally will be held by the pier at Marine Park in Red Bank from 10:30am – 12:00pm, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend and bring signs.   Immediately following the rally will be the celebration of the 44th Annual Clearwater Festival.

Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action said,  “It’s imperative for citizens to attend this rally if they care about a healthy future.  While Governor Murphy has repeatedly promised a clean and green energy future for NJ, he needs to know we support that green vision and that his NJDEP must deny the permits.  There is nothing green about this project, in fact it is a lose, lose, lose for the Garden State, so saying no to this project is a no brainer.  We look forward to celebrating with the Governor once he sends Williams and Transco packing back to Oklahoma when his administration denies this project once and for all,” Zipf said.

“The Governor needs to do his job and stand for the environment and the people of New Jersey by denying this pipeline. We have told DEP time and time again that this is the wrong project in the wrong place. It is completely unnecessary and unneeded. The Northeast Supply Enhancement Project would cut through the already polluted and sensitive Raritan Bay and the New York Bay. This fossil fuel project would not only harm our fisheries and the ecology of the Bay but risk the safety and health of people too. Transco does not care about our safety, our clean air and water, they just want to put a dangerous compressor station and natural gas pipeline in our backyard and in our bay,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “DEP did their job in rejecting William Transco’s permits before, now it is their duty to reject them again.” 

“The Murphy Administration has a chance in the coming days to once again protect New Jerseyans from a dangerous source of air and water pollution and double down on its commitment to achieving a 100% clean energy future by permanently rejecting permits to the NESE project,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “New Jersey has denied permits for NESE once. The Murphy administration should move to permanently reject the project and codify their strong decision made in June. I urge the public to join us on September 14th to show the governor we fully support his 100% clean energy goals and oppose NESE.”

State and local environmental organizations are not alone in their opposition to NESE. Numerous New Jersey residents have been actively opposing the project since it was first proposed. Dr. Barbara Cuthbert is a member of the Franklin Township Task Force, a group which formed three years ago to fight back and protect the communities which will be at risk from the proposed compressor station. “Governor Murphy and the DEP know that the NESE Project does not provide health or safety benefits to New Jerseyans. The laws and science, along with the clean energy goals of NJ, are on the side of NJDEP who should deny this third set of applications for good to protect our environment, health and safety from climate change impacts of fossil fuel extraction, transportation and combustion,” said Dr. Cuthbert.

Local community members along the Bayshore have expressed serious concerns over the impact the project will have on their communities and local economies. Despite the Bayshore region being on the front lines in terms of the impacts from the offshore pipeline, the DEP has failed to hold a public hearing on the project in the area. Elisabeth Eittreim, the head of Indivisible Bayshore explained that the organization, “firmly opposes the NESE Pipeline and urges our elected officials to protect our waterways before it is too late.”

Background:

NESE is an unnecessary, dirty, and environmentally destructive project designed to bring fracked natural/methane gas from Pennsylvania to New York City. To do so, Williams and their subsidiary Transco have sought permits to build both a massive new compressor station in Franklin Township and a 23.4-mile offshore pipeline through the Raritan Bay. The compressor station is being built next to an active quarry where blasting regularly occurs. Reports indicate that the compressor station will emit millions of tons of harmful pollutants annually into the air we breathe. Permits for these facilities are being evaluated separately by the NJDEP and a decision is expected in the fall. The nearly 24-mile pipeline, called the Raritan Loop, will rip Raritan Bay in half and continue all the way to the ocean spewing nearly a million tons of toxin muck and drilling mud into the waterways in which we swim and fish.  If approved, NESE will also rollback over 35 years of environmental progress for our waterways.  

ACTION ALERT: Comment Period Extended to August 23

The fight against Compressor Station 206 and the pipeline in the Raritan Bay is not over! 

Williams/Transco still needs permits from NJDEP and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to receive FERC’s permission to begin construction. 

  • The earlier permit applications to NJDEP were withdrawn or rejected – 6/23 & 7/10/17 applications withdrawn on 6/15/18 > new applications submitted 6/20/18 > denied by NJDEP on 6/5/19 > new applications submitted on 6/12/19. 

It has been over 3 years since the opposition to the NESE Project began, and there’s still hope that the NJDEP will do the right thing and reject the third set of applications from Williams/Transco for permits since they fail to meet State requirements for the permits

  • The June 12, 2019 applications to NJDEP still do not meet NJ regulations by showing a “compelling public need” for the NESE Project. 
  • They still include harms from construction of the pipeline to our surface water quality, marine life, and threatened & endangered species and their habitats. 
  • The proposed infiltration basin for the compressor station site still does not meet required regulations. 
  • Operations would guarantee decades of toxic air pollution from the compressor station. 

See attachments: NJDEP’s deficiency letters

Now is the time to make it known that you expect the NJDEP to deny the water permit applications that they received on June 12, 2019 for the NESE Project. 

YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED!  Click the button below to submit your comments through the Action Network by the extended deadline of August 23.

SUBMIT COMMENTS

ACTION ALERT: Stop NESE – 3 Quick Actions You Can Take Today!

Call to Action: Stop NESE last quick action to FERC prior to FEIS issuance scheduled for 1/25/2019

As we rapidly approach the scheduled release of the FEIS for CP17-101, the question arises, “What can people do to make any impact for stopping this atrocity project from occurring?”

We are calling for the coalition to please take action and reach out to others to take action in the next 20 days leading up to the scheduled FERC FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement).  This is the last time where the public will have any meaningful impact on the FERC process. 

We developed 3 quick actions with sample messages that will have impact, especially with more people doing the actions.  Even New York and Pennsylvania people can voice in on these issues.  This might be NJ focused on impact, but the reality is, the more people voicing in, the more force we raise to FERC.

If NY folks have quick bullets of major FERC omissions at this point, please send them on.

Quick 5 minute actions

  1. Call and email Senator Smith (senbsmith@njleg.org, (732) 752-0770, @SenatorBobSmith).
    Bill SR94 sitting in Env & Energy committee that he chairs for more than 5 months.
    Sample message: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dE1ROHaj94R1YK9rG3a0_XHS_mcJ1GfYSkypkBx4hv0
  2. Call and email Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (asmdeangelo@njleg.org, (609) 631-7501; @DeAngeloLD14).
    Bill AR164 sitting in Telecommunications & Utilities that he chairs for more than 5 months.
    Sample message: https://drive.google.com/open?id=17ZGOTMOd6GHNOwWXWJ0NCxFwqvzpFb9n7flgjnGQnII
  3. Send comment to FERC and copy your legislators urging FERC to heed impacted residents and municipalities.
    1. Reference Franklin Township 12/20/2018 FERC Submission including FTTF Memo:
      FERC: https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/search/intermediate.asp?link_file=yes&doclist=14731233
      Also available on our GoogleDrive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FVbdYd9S_iwliWl85fjInFBKt7g_ChRV
    2. Sample Letter: 
      https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rALfYAamSenn73q1FmN8_jrBC1ZpsIUzwRtTUiypmtg

In addition to Franklin Township sending the FTTF Memo to FERC, South Brunswick sent the attached memo to FERC right at the end of 2018.  Waiting for Montgomery and Princeton to do the same, if you live in those areas, please encourage them to do so.

We have come 2 years fighting this project and we have delayed FERC twice.  That is significant.  It is from this coalition and all the actions from the public that the coalition has influenced that enabled the delays.  Let’s capitalize on that and go out with a bang prior to the issuance of the FEIS scheduled for 1/25/2019!

A number of us on FTTF have continued through the last half of 2018 sending comments to FERC, calling elected officials and actively pressing back on Transco even in Twitter.

We urge all the communities engaged to please help residents take this last set of actions prior to the FEIS (including Princeton Manor, Princeton Highlands, Princeton Walk and Princeton University teams)

The FTTF steering committee team would like to wish you Happy New Year and with your help, maybe free of the threat of NESE.

Action Alert – NJDEP Update

NJDEP has heard from us about issues with the Freshwater Wetlands Permit Application. 

  • See the attached transcript of the comments (PDF) at the November 5, 2018 hearing at Franklin High School.
  • By November 20 (the deadline to send comments to NJDEP about this permit), over 1,000 comments were sent. 

NJDEP is still reviewing the permit applications and asking Williams/Transco for more information.  Permits are needed from NJDEP for Freshwater Wetlands, Flood Hazard Area, Coastal Wetlands and Waterfront Development.

  • None of the applications have been deemed to be “technically complete”.
  • Applications were received by the NJDEP on June 20, 2018, and they have one calendar year to either grant or deny each permit.

NJDEP stated that there will be another hearing, but the details have not been publicized.  We suspect that the next hearing will be in Old Bridge or Sayreville.

ACTION ALERT: Review NJDEP Application Documents

For the NJDEP hearing, you can review application material from Williams/Transco to NJDEP at:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Bm6kTq6Fv0JJIC-ra2pOXBH5SPYGWf0c?usp=sharing

These were obtained from the NJDEP through an OPRA request.

The hearing on November 5 is for the Freshwater Wetlands application.

Application for Freshwater Wetlands

Read full ACTION ALERT for the November 5 meeting on TAPinto

Note:  Files on the Google drive with “2017” contain material from the original application that was withdrawn.  The current applications, submitted June 20, 2018, should be marked as 2018.  Not all files are clearly labeled, however.

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.

Keep sending comments to FERC

Send comments to FERC that request a “reset” for the DEIS by asking them to publish a revised/supplemental DEIS that addresses all new information and all concerns of the public. Tell FERC that the March 23, 2018 DEIS was missing critical information, dismissed comments of the public & elected officials, and lacked supportive studies or data for FERC’s conclusions. Additionally, Williams/Transco submitted thousands of pages of new information and reports that needs to be reviewed and analyzed in a document that FERC publishes during the time period when the public can truly provide meaningful comments. These submissions were in May and June 2018 – after the DEIS was published & after the end of the “official” time period for sending comments to FERC.

FERC claims that they consider ALL comments they receive. Many people need to let them know that the DEIS was not acceptable.

SEND COMMENTS TO FERC NOW, AND COPY NJDEP.

The DEIS was incomplete & misleading.  Tell FERC that you want a revised or supplemental DEIS and an additional comment period of at least 45 days.

When you send a comment to FERC, also forward that comment to the NJDEP –

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

You can also forward your comments to your elected officials and ask them to support the opposition to NESE.

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.