10/29/2019 Update

NJDEP did not issue their decision on the water permit applications on October 25, 2019 as was expected. 

Rather:

  1. Williams/Transco asked for a 30-day extension for a DEP decision on the Flood Hazard Area permit, and
  2. Williams/Transco withdrew their permit applications for Waterfront Development with Section 401 Water Quality Certification & Coastal Zone Management Consistency, and they submitted new applications three days later – October 28, 2019.

      The NJDEP does not have a 90-day decision deadline to adhere to for the Freshwater Wetlands permit application (i.e., There would be no consequences if they rendered a decision on this beyond 90 days after declaring the application to be complete for review.)

      THANK YOU!

      This is to recognize all the recent efforts to ensure that the NJDEP was aware of our concerns, issues with the applications, and recognition that the applications did not meet the stringent standards that the NJDEP was required to adhere to.  Prior to the NJDEP’s anticipated 10/25/19 decision on the June 12, 2019 applications:

      • Franklin Township Council passed a resolution urging the NJDEP to reject the June 2019 permits for the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project at their 10/22/19 meeting.
      • Princeton Council passed a resolution urging the NJDEP to reject the June 2019 permits for the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project at their 10/14/19 meeting.
      • Letters were sent to the Governor and NJDEP’s Commissioner McCabe from 33 elected officials and 32 organizations or their members urging the DEP to deny the permits for NESE on 10/18/19.
      • Nearly 6,000 people signed letters and/or online petitions/letters from New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, Clean Ocean Action, Central Jersey Environmental Defenders, and the Natural Resources Defense Council stating opposition to NESE and urging the DEP to deny the permits for NESE.  
      • Over 200 people called the Governor’s office to urge the DEP to deny the permits for NESE because they did not meet stringent regulatory standards
      • Many individuals sent individually-prepared comments to the NJDEP.
      • Franklin Twp. Manager sent extensive comments from the Franklin Township Task Force to the NJDEP and other officials in Trenton on 8/20/19 and 10/21/19.
      • Eastern Environmental Law Center and Princeton Hydro sent comments to the NJDEP on 8/2/19, 8/23/19, 10/21/19, and 10/24/19.
      • People rallied in Red Bank on 9/14/19 at an event organized by Clean Ocean Action.
      • And there were more actions …

      Some of the reasons cited for denying the permits were:

      1. Construction of the NESE Project threatens surface water quality, increased stormwater flooding, and threatened & endangered species and their habitats.
        • From construction in Raritan Bay –  
          • Unearthing toxics above levels acceptable in the regulations
          • Generating turbidity (clouding the water) that would interfere with designated use of the waters
        • From construction of the Madison Loop –
          • Digging in acid-producing soils would result in poor re-vegetation on steep slopes and could lead to excess runoff into wetlands (some of which are classified as “exceptional resource”).
        • From the design of the retention basin for Compressor Station 206 – 
          • This will not adequately address stormwater runoff.
          • NOTE:  Williams/Transco made similar errors that NJ DEP failed to detect and correct in the design and construction of a recent compressor station in Chesterfield Township (“Garden State Expansion” project).
      2. Construction of the Raritan Bay Loop, with its newly proposed shorter schedule, threatens the health of marine life, habitats, benthic and shellfish communities, and the economy of the region due to suspension and spreading of toxins from beneath the seafloor, noise from construction, and limited access to construction space in the Bay for commercial and recreational activities.
      3. Williams/Transco did not demonstrate that there are no practicable alternatives to avoid impacting exceptional resource value wetlands and their transition areas at the proposed CS206 site and Madison Loop.
      4. NJDEP explained that Williams/Transco did not demonstrate (1) that the proposed NESE Project serves an essential health or safety need of the municipality in which it is proposed; (2) that the proposed NESE Project serves existing needs of residents of the State; and (3) that there is no other means available to meet the established public need.
        • NESE does not meet the “public interest” criteria because: 
          • There is no “compelling public need” for it – It does not provide a public health or safety benefit, and, additionally, NY does not need this gas.  Rather, NESE:
            • threatens our air and water quality from methane and other toxic releases, 
            • negatively impacts the health of people and marine/wild life from Compressor Station 206 emissions & unearthed toxins from constructing in Raritan Bay,
            • poses safety risks (fires or explosions) from increased velocity of transporting natural gas through pipelines that are 50+ year old which will impact the rate of corrosion, and 
            • increases risks of flooding at the CS206 site from an inadequately designed retention basin.
        • It doesn’t preserve natural resources, and
          • There would be a negative impact on the shore economy by dredging up toxins from the floor of the Bay which would harm the health and safety of marine life and of Bayshore communities.
          • NOTE:  FERC’s 5/3/19 Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity was not based on criteria NJDEP needs to use to determine public interest / compelling public need.
      5. The NESE Project’s greenhouse gas emissions and methane leaks would undercut the State’s goals to address impacts on Climate Change.  Based on the responses from the public and political leaders, there is growing support for these goals and opposition to NESE.
        • Approximately 6,000 people called the Governor and/or signed online petitions to the NJDEP and/or to Governor Murphy that included reasons for the NJDEP to deny the June 12, 2019 permit applications.  More comments were emailed or submitted in writing to the NJDEP during the comment period for this 3rd set of applications, but we do not know how many.
        • Governor Cuomo & Mayor DeBlasio, along with many other elected officials in NJ & NY, have voiced their opposition to the NESE Project.

      REMEMBER:  The NESE compressor station & pipeline can’t be built without permits from the NJDEP.

      STAY TUNED for plans for future actions.

ACTION ALERT – Princeton Council voices continuing opposition to NESE

On October 14, 2019, the Princeton Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of NJDEP denying permits for two fossil fuel pipeline projects that could impact central Jersey – NESE and PennEast.  It recognizes that neither project can be completed in a manner that meets the stringent environmental standards required by state laws and regulations.

It highlights misleading & false assertions like:

  • Natural gas is a bridge to clean energy.
  • There is a need for more gas by National Grid in New York.

It highlights important concerns & goals of people in New Jersey:

  • Compressor stations are a potent source of ground level ozone, are a safety risk, and negatively affect the quality of the air we breathe.  Plumes of toxic emissions can travel 10 miles away.
  • The safety standards of interstate pipelines are weaker than those for intrastate pipelines.
  • Construction of Compressor Station 206 would adversely impact the state-threatened barred owl and protected vernal pool habitats.
  • Construction of the pipeline in Raritan Bay would dredge up toxins, and it threatens marine life, tourism and the fishing economy.
  • A transition away from fossil fuels is needed to achieve the State’s clean energy mandates.
  • The costs of non-polluting solar and wind energy are decreasing.
  • New York’s energy needs can be met by energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

With appreciation for this well-detailed action by the Princeton Council, their resolution is linked to this alert.

READ THE RESOLUTION

REMEMBER:
If Williams/Transco does not get all permits from NJDEP and/or NYSDEC, the compressor station proposed near Trap Rock Quarry and the pipeline proposed in Old Bridge/Sayreville and Raritan Bay cannot be built.

By Friday, October 25, NJDEP needs to make a decision about the Coastal Wetlands and Waterfront Development permit applications.

By Tuesday, October 29, NJDEP needs to make a decision about the Flood Hazard Area permit application.

QUICK ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW

1-Sign the online petition that will be sent to the Governor & NJDEP Commissioner.

2-Call Governor Murphy between 9AM and 5PM, and tell him that you want the NJDEP to deny all permits for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (a.k.a. NESE).  Call 866-586-4069 or 609-292-6000.

OTHER ACTIONS:

Even though the comment period ended, Williams/Transco has submitted more documents to NJDEP since then.  Make your concerns known to the NJDEP Project Managers and others in Trenton who need to be aware of your concerns by sending messages by October 22.

TO:

NJDEP Project Managers:  Joslin.Tamagno@dep.nj.gov
Joslin Tamagno and Steve Olivera Stephen.Olivera@dep.nj.gov 

COPIES TO:

Governor Phil Murphy Constituent.relations@nj.gov
Christopher Jones, Manager – Land Use Christopher.Jones@dep.nj.gov 
Catherine R. McCabe, NJDEP Commissioner Commissioner@dep.nj.gov 
Diane Dow, Director – Land Use Diane.Dow@dep.nj.gov 
Virginia Kopkash, Assistant Commissioner – Land Use Ginger.Kopkash@dep.nj.gov 
Ruth Foster, Director – Permit Coordination & Environmental Review Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov 

ACTION ALERT: Keep the Pressure on to Scrap-NESE

THANK YOU!

Over 4,500 people signed online petitions to the NJDEP and/or to Governor Murphy that included reasons for the NJDEP to deny the June 12, 2019 permit applications.  More comments were emailed or submitted in writing to the NJDEP during the comment period for this 3rd set of applications, but we do not know how many.


YOUR COMMENTS TO NJDEP & GOVERNOR MURPHY ARE STILL NEEDED

Keep telling NJDEP and your elected representatives that you want the DEP to deny the permit applications for NESE. Attached below are reasons that you can use in your comments.

NJDEP is required to apply regulations from their Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, Flood Hazard Area Rules, Stormwater Management Rules, Coastal Zone Wetland Rules and any other applicable regulations in deciding whether or not the applications for NESE meet NJ standards.  For the Coastal Wetlands & Waterfront Development permits, NJDEP needs to make a decision by Friday, October 25.  For the Flood Hazard Area permit, a decision is due by Tuesday, October 29

Since the NJDEP accepts new information from Williams/Transco about the pending permit applications for NESE after the end of the comment period, people should send comments about this new information to NJDEP.  Williams/Transco responded to comments sent to the NJDEP on September 4 & 9, 2019.  These documents, sent to NJDEP, are attached below.

At this time, the applications do not meet standards in the regulations for (1) Surface Water Quality, (2) Protecting Threatened & Endangered Species and the Bayshore Economy, (3) Avoiding Exceptional Resource Value Wetlands, and (4) Public Interest / Compelling Public Need.  Additionally, (5) NESE hinders meeting clean energy goals of the State.

  1. Construction of the NESE Project threatens surface water quality, increased stormwater flooding, and threatened & endangered species and their habitats.
    • From construction in Raritan Bay –  
      • Unearthing toxics above levels acceptable in the regulations
      • Generating turbidity (clouding the water) that would interfere with designated use of the waters
    • From construction of the Madison Loop –
      • Digging in acid-producing soils would result in poor re-vegetation on steep slopes and could lead to excess runoff into wetlands (some of which are classified as “exceptional resource”).
    • From the design of the retention basin for Compressor Station 206 – 
      • This will not adequately address stormwater runoff.
      • NOTE:  Williams/Transco made similar errors that NJ DEP failed to detect and correct in the design and construction of a recent compressor station in Chesterfield Township (“Garden State Expansion” project).
  2. Construction of the Raritan Bay Loop, with its newly proposed shorter schedule, threatens the health of marine life, habitats, benthic and shellfish communities, and the economy of the region due to suspension and spreading of toxins from beneath the seafloor, noise from construction, and limited access to construction space in the Bay for commercial and recreational activities.
  3. Williams/Transco did not demonstrate that there are no practicable alternatives to avoid impacting exceptional resource value wetlands and their transition areas at the proposed CS206 site and Madison Loop.
  4. NJDEP explained that Williams/Transco did not demonstrate (1) that the proposed NESE Project serves an essential health or safety need of the municipality in which it is proposed; (2) that the proposed NESE Project serves existing needs of residents of the State; and (3) that there is no other means available to meet the established public need.   NESE does not meet the “public interest” criteria because: 
    • There is no “compelling public need” for it – It does not provide a public health or safety benefit, and, additionally, NY does not need this gas.  Rather, NESE:
      • threatens our air and water quality from methane and other toxic releases, 
      • negatively impacts our health from Compressor Station 206 emissions, 
      • poses safety risks (fires or explosions) from increased velocity of transporting natural gas through pipelines that are 50+ year old which will impact the rate of corrosion, and 
      • increases risks of flooding at the CS206 site from an inadequately designed retention basin.
    • It doesn’t preserve natural resources, and
    • There would be a negative impact on the shore economy by dredging up toxins from the floor of the Bay which would harm the health and safety of marine life and of Bayshore communities.
    • NOTE:  FERC’s 5/3/19 Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity was not based on criteria NJDEP needs to use to determine public interest / compelling public need.
  5. The NESE Project’s greenhouse gas emissions and methane leaks would undercut the State’s goals to address Impacts on Climate Change.  Based on the responses from the public and political leaders, there is growing support for these goals.

The NJDEP makes the decision about the permit applications.

Send your comments to New Jersey’s DEP Project Managers & copy others who should read your comments:

TO:

NJDEP Project Managers: 
Joslin Tamagno Joslin.Tamagno@dep.nj.gov
Steve Olivera Stephen.Olivera@dep.nj.gov 

COPIES TO:

Governor Phil Murphy Constituent.relations@nj.gov
Christopher Jones, Manager – Land Use Christopher.Jones@dep.nj.gov 
Catherine R. McCabe, NJDEP Commissioner Commissioner@dep.nj.gov 
Diane Dow, Director – Land Use Diane.Dow@dep.nj.gov 
Virginia Kopkash, Assistant Commissioner – Land Use Ginger.Kopkash@dep.nj.gov 
Ruth Foster, Director – Permit Coordination & Environmental Review Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov 


Governor Cuomo & Mayor DeBlasio, along with many other elected officials in NJ & NY, have voiced their opposition to the NESE Project.  

On WYNC’s September 24, 2019 Brian Lehrer Show, NY’s Governor Cuomo said the following about the NESE Project:  “We have taken a position: We’re against the pipeline. That’s our position.” About National Grid, he said that the investigation should be complete in a few weeks and, when asked about negotiating with National Grid, he stated, “… If they’re extorting people and wrongly turning off gas service to homes to create political pressure, I’m not negotiating over that.  That’s extortion. That’s a crime.” Listen to the interview, and hear more about his comments on the NESE Project and National Grid below starting at 7:00.


Governor Murphy hasn’t spoken out about NESE despite the fact that this project undermines the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) 2019 Energy Master Plan’s 2050 Clean Energy goal.

ACTION ALERT: Call or write to your NJ State Legistlators

There are many reasons why NJDEP should deny permits for the NESE Project, but they need to know that your representatives oppose it.

We know that the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project threatens our health, safety and the quality of our waters and air.  Construction of NESE also puts threatened and endangered species in harm’s way.

  • The NYSDEC and NJDEP people reviewing the water permit applications are required to apply state regulations in their decision-making.  
  • Elected officials hear from their constituents, and there are certainly behind-the sense conversations that include lobbyists of Williams/Transco.
  • Though we have sent many comments to the NJDEP and do not know exactly what will make a difference in their decision-making process, it is important that we all let our elected officials know how we feel about the NESE Project.

SOME REASONS WHY THE NJDEP SHOULD DENY THE PERMIT APPLICATIONS

  • The applications do not comply with state regulations for Surface Water Quality, Stormwater Management, and showing a “compelling public need” for moving gas across NJ to NY.
  • This project would not benefit New Jersey in any way since the gas would all go to New York.  Instead, we would be faced with all of the safety and environmental consequences. 
  • NESE would create more air and water pollution for the entire region.
  • The NESE pipeline would cut through waterfront areas into the bay, increasing coastal flooding and dredging up toxins in the Raritan Bay.  When you cut through a bay like the Raritan, it has an impact on the fisheries as well as the ecology of the Bay.  The fish, plants and other living creatures in the Bay would be threatened by this pipeline.
  • This pipeline would cut through the already polluted and sensitive Raritan Bay and the New York Bay.  Construction would disrupt 1 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment such as arsenic, lead and PCBs, putting toxic chemicals into the Raritan Bay.  The release of those toxins will affect aquatic migration, interfere with breeding, contribute to harmful algae blooms, and impact human health.
  • We’ve spent decades cleaning up the waters in Raritan Bay, and the NESE construction also threatens commercial and recreational fishing economies at the Bayshore.
  • The pipeline project’s path would cut across numerous contaminated sites as well as 2 Superfund sites, the Raritan Bay Slag and Higgins Farm sites, as it goes across the state into the Raritan Bay.  
  • This project would cut through wetlands and other sensitive areas, further imperiling the water, soil and wildlife with more toxic runoff during construction.
  • This project would increase polluted stormwater runoff, destroy critical habitat and cause significant degradation to the environment. 
  • The Coastal Wetland permit would allow for the destruction of wetlands critical for protection against flooding and storm surges.  Wetlands also offer vital pollution protection.  They filter chemicals and sediment out of the water before it is discharged into the ocean.  The loss of those important coastal wetlands will create more pollution and flooding in Middlesex and Monmouth counties. 
  • It’s dangerous to remove wetlands because they act as natural storm barriers and water filters for the area.  The risk will be heightened with worsening storm surges and climate effects including sea level rise.
  • Stormwater runoff impacts from the proposed Compressor Station 206 will also have harmful results.  The station will release formaldehyde, chromium, benzene and hydrocarbons into industrial stormwater runoff that will increase pollution and flooding in an area already plagued by flooding.
  • The Freshwater Wetlands and Flood Hazard Area permits would allow for the destruction of exceptional resource value wetlands and transition areas along with forested areas that are critical for protection against flooding and storm surges as well as vital for the threatened Barred Owl.
  • This gas is highly flammable and dangerous.  An accident with this pipeline and compressor station could contaminate our waterways and environment and put people at risk.

Attached is a list of New Jersey Senators and Representatives.  Call and/or write to your representatives ASAP. 

The NJDEP has until September 25, 2019 to issue their decision about the Coastal Wetlands and Waterfront Development permit applications.


PROPOGANDA ACTIONS

We know that Williams/Transco is guaranteed at least a 14% return on its investment via the FERC permitting process, and we know that National Grid (the customer for the NESE gas) is doing everything they can to influence Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to issue the permits by not honoring new applications for gas hook-ups until the NESE Project is approved.

Some points about National Grid

In New York, public utilities are natural monopolies because the infrastructure required to produce and deliver a product such as electricity, gas or water is very expensive to build and maintain, and having more than one company building infrastructure would make our streets a mess.  As a result, they are granted special status as monopolies, but are overseen and regulated by a public utilities commission to ensure accountability to the public.  However, utilities can easily take advantage of their power—and that’s what National Grid has done.

In July 2019, National Grid sent out an email blast to their customers taking a play from our activist handbook to “send comments to the DEC” in favor of the Williams Transco pipeline.  In so doing they are abusing their monopoly power to panic customers into lobbying for their private profit.

  • National Grid’s recent moratorium on new gas hookups violates state regulatory procedures meant to protect ratepayers.
  • The utility’s recent emails to those ratepayers about the illegal moratorium, which ask customers to lobby government agencies to support the pipeline, further violate ethical guidelines and are an abuse of its power as a monopoly.   
  • The utility’s recent emails to those ratepayers do not offer any alternatives, like renewable energy, to the customer to alleviate said gas moratorium.
  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) has a robust system of administrative procedures which protect ratepayers and ensure that they can weigh in and have their interests represented when utilities make changes that might affect them.  For example, Public Service Law requires National Grid to consult with the PSC before denying ratepayers gas service.  Only the PSC can decide how to address possible gas shortages.  
  • By unilaterally imposing its gas moratorium, National Grid has circumvented these procedures and prevented the PSC from being able to adequately protect ratepayers and regulate the potentially self-serving actions of a monopoly utility. 
  • National Grid’s emails exacerbate this potential harm to its customers.  Along with being confusing and manipulative, they pressure captive ratepayers—ratepayers who have no other choice of utility—to act politically against their best interests and on a private corporation’s behalf. 
  • National Grid’s emails also create a harmful climate of fear based around a supposed gas shortage.  This is all as the utility continues to ignore expert reports proving that we don’t need this gas and continues to withhold information that we have requested, which they claim substantiates the need for this new pipeline. 
  • The New York DEC has a legal duty to uphold the Clean Water Act and protect our waters and the ecosystem our waters support.

Some media coverage of these manipulative tactics by National Grid is found here:

ACTION ALERT: Submit Comments to NJDEP by August 23!

NJDEP has issued a COMMENT PERIOD for the June 2019 NESE applications that ends on August 23, 2019

Join us in stopping Williams/Transco’s proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project’s Compressor Station 206 and pipeline in Old Bridge/Sayreville and under Raritan Bay that threatens our communities, the environment, and efforts to address risks from climate change in NJ and NY.

ACTIONS:

  • Call Governor Murphy between 9 AM and 5PM at 866-586-4069 or 609-292-6000 & leave a message that you expect the NJDEP to protect our health and safety by denying the permit applications for the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project that do not meet standards of NJ regulations.

WHY?  There are many reasons to oppose NESE’s compressor station and pipeline proposed to be built in New Jersey.

  1. Construction would harm the health and environments of humans, marinelife and wildlife.
  2. Operation of the compressor station would threaten our health from toxic air emissions.
  3. Increased velocity of moving gas through pipeline that is 50+ years old risks hastening of corrosion that leads to fires and explosions.
  4. Williams/Transco has a poor safety record.
  5. The NESE Project undercuts goals and efforts of NJ and NY to fight impacts of climate change.

The NESE Project has been stopped twice in New York and twice in New Jersey when 2017 and 2018 applications for permits were withdrawn and/or denied.  Now, following the third applications in June 2019, it’s time for the NJDEP to deny the permit applications with prejudice (a.k.a. “for good”).  

We know that there is no way for Williams/Transco to build NESE’s pipeline and compressor station without threatening our water quality, threatened & endangered species, and wetlands.  We will continue to fight this dangerous and unnecessary project to the end.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED NOW!    Many of the concerns of people in NJ & NY have been heard, and they need to be voiced again about the 2019 permit applications – by August 23, 2019.

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: 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 – SEND COMMENTS TO NJDEP BY AUGUST 2, 2019

We know that there is no way for Williams/Transco to build NESE’s pipeline and compressor station without threatening our water quality, threatened & endangered species, and wetlands. We will continue to fight this dangerous and unnecessary project to the end.

The NESE Project has been stopped twice in New York and twice in New Jersey when 2017 and 2018 applications for permits were withdrawn and/or denied. Now, following the third applications in June 2019, it’s time for the NJDEP to deny the permit applications with prejudice (a.k.a. “for good”).

YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED!

Many of the concerns of people in NJ & NY have been heard, and they need to be voiced again about the 2019 permit applications.

NJDEP has issued a comment period for the June 2019 applications that ends on August 2, 2019. We’re asking for an extension but, at this time, we do not know if it will be granted.

Attached are sample written comments/points that are relevant to the NJDEP’s current review of applications as well as political points (such as climate change impacts).

We will be adding additional sample comments to the website as we go, so please check back periodically.

Recommendations:

  1. Write separate comments for each topic or point.
    • Using the attached comment statements, you could do a “word search” for a topic or concern of interest to you.
    • On the next page is a list of the attached comment topics with provided information.
  2. Choose points from what is provided on the attached comment ideas/points & use them to create your own individual comments by copying/pasting what you want to use into a Word document. Save it.
  3. Include your full name and address at the end of all comment letters.
  4. Send each comment as an attachment (the Word document or that document saved as a PDF) via one email to all of the following – the 2 NJDEP people reviewing the permit applications (Project Managers) while copying others in the DEP who are involved as well as the Governor. (Emails are listed below so that you can copy & paste them into your email.) You could also copy your local State Senators and Representatives.

Send Emails = To NESE Project Managers at NJDEP:

Stephen.Olivera@dep.nj.gov
Joslin.Tamagno@dep.nj.gov

cc:

Commissioner@dep.nj.gov
Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov
Christopher.Jones@dep.nj.gov
Diane.Dow@dep.nj.gov
Ginger.Kopkash@dep.nj.gov
Constituent.relations@nj.gov

5. For the Subject of your email, copy & paste this into the space –
Comments on NESE – Program Interest # 0000-01-1001.3; Activity #s: LUP 190001 & LUP190002

6. To identify the comment in the document you will attach, write something like the following as your email message:

Dear Mr. Olivera and Ms. Tamagno:

I would like to thank the DEP for its June 5, 2019 denial of Williams/Transco’s prior set of Land Use permit applications. Transco’s new Land Use permit applications – submitted merely one week after the denial – still fail to satisfy the applicable New Jersey statutes and regulations, including New Jersey’s stringent requirements for issuing a Water Quality Certificate under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

For accountability, public participation, and use of science-based decision-making, the following comments are provided for consideration during the current comment period for the June 2019 applications by Williams/Transco for the following permits for the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Project: Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit with Section 401 Water Quality Certification, Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit and Verification, Waterfront Development Individual Permit with Section 401 Water Quality Certification, and Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency Determination.

However, this 30-day timeframe is inadequate because the application material is only available for review during business hours in paper format, and this precludes true accessibility for those who cannot spend time at the Municipal Center or NJDEP’s office for reasons that include work, family care and/or disability.

Thus, in addition to considering my comments, I am asking for (a) an extension of the comment period for an additional 45 days beyond August 2 for sending you comments as well as (b) posting of the application material in a web-accessible format on the DEP website. This should not be difficult since Williams/Transco provided the DEP with all application material on a DVD in late June/early July.

7. Then, attach your comment as a Word document or PDF.

Comment Topics – Elaborated Points are in the attached dociments.

(1) Construction of the NESE Project threatens water quality, increased stormwater flooding, and threatened & endangered species.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 1

A. Construction of a stormwater basin at the proposed Compressor Station 206 site does not include complete plans that account for the specific soil type that exists there.

B. Impacts to the habitat for the State threatened barred owl as well as protected vernal pool habitats at the proposed Compressor Station 206 site were not adequately assessed or avoided.

C. Construction Schedule of the Raritan Bay Loop was reduced from 12 months to 7 months

D. A shortened timeline increases the intensity of work, so the overall impacts will be magnified.

E. Noise Impacts from Pile Drivings – It is not clear if the construction schedule for these activities has changed with the compressed construction schedule for the Raritan Bay Loop, but the requests for harassment have increased.

F. Dredging up toxics has not been avoided by construction of the Raritan Bay Loop, and this will likely cause long-term harm that was not accounted for in the applications.

G. To reach a conclusion that the impacts on water quality would be short-lived, temporary and localized neglects to consider the unusual tidal flows in Raritan Bay, the chain-reactions from destroyed habitat and food sources for marine life, and the contamination of food sources for marine life and people.

H. NESE’s Raritan Bay Loop’s Undisputed, Devastating Impact on Shellfish Beds and Benthic Communities

I. Williams/Transco has not sufficiently identified permanent, temporary, and secondary/indirect impacts from onland construction, and they have not shown plans to avoid and/or mitigate these impacts.

  • Acid Producing Soils
  • Construction through or near Superfund Sites & other toxic sites

(2) Williams/Transco did not demonstrate that there are no practicable alternatives to avoid impacting exceptional resource value wetlands and their transition areas.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 2

(3)  Williams/Transco did not demonstrate a “compelling public need” for the NESE Project that meets requirements of NJ’s Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:7A-10.4 or, alternatively, demonstrate an extraordinary hardship from denial of a permit.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 3

The NESE Project does not serve an essential health or safety need of the municipality in which it would be constructed, and its proposed use does not serve existing needs of residents of the State.

  • Air Quality & Health Impacts
  • Safety Risks – Fires or Explosions

Additionally, the “need” for the NESE Project has been refuted by reports, and the needs of the State that are currently focused on fighting climate change impacts would be harmed by the NESE Project despite claims by Williams/Transco about “benefits” to New Jersey.

(4)  NESE is not in the Public Interest.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 4

  • need to preserve natural resources
  • relative extent of the public and private need for the regulated activity
  • practicability of using reasonable alternative locations and methods
  • economic value
  • ecological value of the freshwater wetlands and probable impact on public health and fish and wildlife.

(5)  Contaminants that would be unearthed, suspended and redistributed in the Raritan Bay exceed “acceptable” levels. Exceedances were found by the NYSDEC for heavy metals (copper & mercury) in New York waters, too. Thus, construction of the Raritan Bay Loop of the NESE Project would (a) negatively impact surface water quality, and (b) harm threatened and endangered species and their habitat. Additionally, the shortening of the in-water construction schedule raises serious concerns about impacts from increased vessel traffic and noise as well as adhering to time-of-year restrictions to protect threatened and endangered species if the schedule needs to be altered due to unforeseen circumstances. Furthermore, the unique tidal flows in the Raritan Bay do not seem to have been given appropriate consideration.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 5

(6)  Other Concerns about In-Water Construction

  • Time of Year Restrictions
  • Thermal Discharges

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 6

(7)  There is a Questionable “Need” for additional natural gas in National Grid’s NY area.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 7

(8)  There is no real consideration of climate crisis-mitigating renewable alternatives by the Federal or State agencies. Additionally, the impact of the NESE Project on climate change effects should be considered in light of the threats facing New Jersey as well as the State’s goals to reduce greenhouse gases.

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 8

(9) Misleading and incomplete information in the Factsheets provided by Williams/Transco

OPEN PDF OF COMMENT 9

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: 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.