PEOPLE OVER POLLUTERS – WE WON FOR NOW

PEOPLE OVER POLLUTERS – WE WON FOR NOW

The concerns of the public were heard, and NJDEP did its job by holding Williams/Transco to the standards of New Jersey’s regulations designed to protect our environment, health and safety.

On June 5, the NJDEP denied all applications for water permits for the NESE Project without prejudice to any future re-application by Williams/Transco.  The NJDEP considered the application documents, extensive public comments, and requirements in their regulations to reach this decision.

Following the May 15 denial without prejudice by the NYSDEC for permits, Williams/Transco re-applied two days later.  

Chris Stockton, spokesperson for Williams, issued the following statement on June 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm:  “We are currently assessing the discrete technical issues raised by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection related to our application for water quality certification. We believe that we can be responsive to the issues raised by the agency and intend to resubmit the application to the agency in a timely manner to maintain the customer’s in-service date requirement.”

Those “discrete technical issues” include Williams/Transco’s lack of fully demonstrating: 

  1. a compelling public need for NESE that meets State regulations or, in the alternative, the existence of an extraordinary hardship that warrants granting a permit for the compressor station as detailed in the applications; 
  2. that there is no practicable alternative to the proposed construction of and access to the compressor station that would avoid or minimize impacts to freshwater wetlands and exceptional value resource areas at this site; and 
  3. how construction of the Raritan Bay Loop’s dredging and redistribution of toxic sediment from the floor of the bay would avoid or minimize adverse impacts to surface water quality to ensure compliance with surface water quality standards. 

We’ll wait to see what is in the new application.  

We will continue to act to protect our environment, health, safety and well-being.  Remember what 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 – Make the Next Few Weeks Count – Speak Up Often

During the week of May 20, call the Governor often and tell him that you expect the NJDEP to deny the water permit applications for the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project by June 5.

Call Governor Murphy between 9AM and 5PM at 866-586-4069

People in NJ and NY understand the risks and long-term impacts from the NESE Project to our health, safety, well-being & economy:

  • more air pollution with associated health problems
  • spread of toxics onland and in the Bay that threaten the health of people and life in the Bay
  • methane releases & risks of fires or explosions from the compressor station and leaks from pipelines that are over 50 years old
  • more frequent & intense weather events – causing flooding, destruction, displacement and lost income – from additional reliance on fossil fuels for the decades-long projected lifespan of NESE

People in NJ & NY are on the record opposing this dangerous Project:

  • On May 15, 2019, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) conditionally denied the Water Quality Certificate and permits for the Raritan Bay Loop part of NESE in NY waters since it would likely have significant Water Quality impacts in New York State. Williams/Transco can reapply since the application was denied “without prejudice”.
  • On May 14, 2019, Franklin Township Council passed a Resolution opposing issuance of permits by the NJDEP for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project.
  • Thirteen Towns in the Bayshore community, along with Monmouth County Freeholders, passed resolutions opposing NESE during March and April 2019: Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Long Branch, Matawan, Middletown, Rumson, Sea Bright, and Union.

Now, the ball is in NJDEP’s court to call the balls & strikes

  • Governor Murphy said, in response to questions of Junior Romero of Food & Water Watch on a Call the Governor event: “We review these things assiduously to make sure we do it right.”
  • The NJDEP has until June 5 to do the right thing and reject the permit applications.
  • The NJDEP decisions cannot be arbitrary & capricious in violation of laws and regulations.
  • The NJDEP is both the environmental rule-maker and rule-applier, and they decide the relevance of comments from the public as well as information from William/Transco in their best effort to be objective in their application and enforcement of the rules.
  • The NJDEP decisions must not be influenced by the “Matthew Effect” (found for baseball umpires’ unconscious biases in judgments of their calls of balls & strikes) of unconscious biases that could be influenced by the vast sums of money being spent in Trenton by lobbyists of Williams/Transco.

Williams/Transco continues to update and change information about the permit applications in response to issues raised by the public and questions from the NJDEP. They withdrew their permits in June 2018 because the supplemental information had not yet satisfied the regulatory requirements of New Jersey, and they claimed that this was done to give the NJDEP time needed to review the added information before making a decision. Their re-submitted applications (June 18, 2018) still do not satisfy all applicable regulations. Of note, in the suit filed against E.I. DuPont DeNemours & Co. by the State of New Jersey on 03/27/19 for the Parlin site, it was written that:

 The State has the ability “through the Department, to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources of the State, which are by law precious and invaluable public resources held by the State in trust for the benefit of the public; and the rights of the people of the State to enjoy their natural resources free from interference by pollution and contamination.” (#208, pages 61-62)

“The use, enjoyment, and existence of uncontaminated natural resources is a right common to the general public.” (#207, page 61)

“As the trustee over the State’s natural resources, the State has a duty to protect and restore all natural resources of the State and protect the health and comfort of its inhabitants.” (#216, page 64) Accessed from: https://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases19/Parlin_Filed-Complaint_and_Jury- Demand.pdf

It’s time for the NJDEP to acknowledge that the NESE Project is not in the public interest, will not benefit the municipalities where it would be located, and does not meet all regulatory requirements, including those of Stormwater Management, for the permits.

ACTION ALERT – Urge Governor Murphy and NJDEP TO DENY WATER PERMIT APPLICATIONS for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE)

Many have sent comments to NJDEP about the deficiencies in the applications of Williams/Transco for water permits needed to construct the NESE Project. The comment period ended on May 2.

Even though FERC issued their “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” Order on May 3, the NESE Project cannot be constructed without receiving water permits from NY’s Department of Environmental Conservation and NJ’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Below are links to recent publications showing the risks of NESE as well as the fact that NESE is not needed even though gas companies in New York are threatening moratoriums if the NESE Project is not approved.

DO NOT BE SWAYED BY SUCH PROPAGANDA!

  • There are other options for future developments to get energy in New York.
  • The claim that the gas is needed to help National Grid’s customers change from using oil to using gas is false.

Pipeline planned for Raritan Bay is a safety risk that keeps us all dependent on dirty fossil fuels, environmentalist says

Rigorous report proves lack of need for Williams fracked gas pipeline – This Press Release makes note of the critical findings in the report and includes a valid link to the Study.

FALSE DEMAND: The case against the Williams fracked gas pipeline

Also, see the comment letters submitted to NJDEP by:

ACTION ALERT – NESE in the News 4/13/19

ACTION ALERT – NESE in the News 4/13/19

Issues about the NESE Project were the subject of an investigative report by Brian Thompson that was aired on New York’s NBC Channel 4 on April 11, 2019 during the 11:00 news. To view this, check out NESE in the NEWS!

Remember:

  1. Folks in New Jersey have until May 2 to send comments to the NJDEP about Williams/Transco’s applications for NESE for Flood Hazard Areas, Coastal Wetlands, Waterfront Development and Temporary Dewatering. Send comments to: Matthew.Resnick@dep.nj.gov and Robert.Hudgins@dep.nj.gov, and send copies of comments to Governor Murphy & NJDEP Commissioner McCabe at: Constituent.relations@nj.gov and Commissioner@dep.nj.gov.
  2. All are encouraged to call Governor Murphy at (609) 292-6000 to strongly request that he makes sure that the DEP does not issue any permit if the application does not meet all standards of New Jersey’s regulations.

For comment ideas CLICK HERE (pdf)

The NJDEP will need to make a decision about granting or denying the permits by June 5, 2019. We need to let them know that we expect them to be the Department of Environmental Protection and listen to our concerns.

All comments matter! 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 – By May 2, tell NJDEP to deny Permit Applications

Action Alert – By May 2, tell NJDEP to deny Permit Applications

FERC will likely issue the “Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity” this month, but NJDEP can stop the NESE Project if they deny any of the permit applications by June 5, 2019. This is their mandated 90-day deadline after they determined that the applications were “complete for review” as of the date they received all requested information about the applications (February 6).

We have until May 2, 2019 to send written comments to NJDEP to tell them to deny the water quality and dewatering permit applications for the NESE Project.

Send your comments to:

Matthew Resnick
Division of Land Use Regulation Mail Code 501-02A
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, New Jersey 08625 – 0420
Matthew.Resnick@dep.nj.gov

and

Robert Hudgins
Division of Water Supply & Geoscience Mail Code 401-04Q
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0420
Robert.Hudgins@dep.nj.gov

Send copies of comments to:

Governor Phil Murphy
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Constituent.relations@nj.gov

and

Catherine R. McCabe, Commissioner
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
401 East State St. – 7th Floor, East Wing – PO Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402
Commissioner@dep.nj.gov

For comment ideas CLICK HERE (pdf)

Copy parts, add your personal reasons,
and remember that the goal is to get NJDEP on our
side so that they reject the applications.

Comments can be sent via snail mail or email.

Also see this document that shows there’s no need by New York for NESE’s gas: False Demand: The Case Against the Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline (PDF)

Former New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Regional Director Suzanne Mattei culled data from a huge range of sources to show that National Grid’s claim that this source of fracked gas is necessary to serve a growing demand is just that: a claim. In this March 2019 report, Mattei shows decisively that the demand for gas to heat homes and businesses will decline over the next ten years due to energy efficiency and the availability of alternative technologies.

ACTION ALERT: Urge Governor Murphy & NJDEP to Deny Water Permit Applications for Compressor Station 206

2019 is the last phase of the permitting and regulatory process for NESE.

We’ve been at this for a long time, and now is a critical time to have your voices heard where they can make a difference.

THE BALL IS IN GOVERNOR MURPHY’S COURT!

FERC issued their final Environmental Impact Statement on 1/25/19. They claim that any impacts from NESE will be temporary or minor. Though we disagree and have sent comments about our concerns to FERC, we still continue to anticipate that FERC will issue the Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity since FERC does not seriously consider all that we care about and has only rejected a few pipeline projects (because the company did not have buyers for the gas). The Certificate could be issued as early as the end of February and as late as late April 2019.

Now, it’s up to Governor Murphy and the NJDEP to deny or approve water permit applications. NJDEP can stop the assault on our health, safety and the environment posed by the NESE Project.

Williams/Transco submitted their water permit applications to NJDEP on June 20, 2018. They expect to receive the permits in April 2019, but NJDEP has one calendar year to provide or reject the permit applications.

The proposed Compressor Station 206 and pipeline under Raritan Bay will not be built if Williams/Transco does not get all permits needed from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) & New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

Please see the new summary of concerns with the NESE Project (PDFs attached) for:

TO DO

Urge Governor Murphy and the NJDEP to look at all aspects of the applications for water permits and hold Williams/Transco to high standards.

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.

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