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  • The earlier permit applications to NJDEP were withdrawn or rejected – 6/23 & 7/10/17 applications withdrawn on 6/15/18 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Project has been stopped twice in New York and twice in New Jersey when 2017 and 2018 applications for permits were withdrawn and/or denied.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 – Request Fact-Finding Meetings/Public Hearings

Since applying for water permits to the NJDEP a third time via letters dated June 10, 2019, the NJDEP has issued two deficiency letters to Williams/Transco – June 25 and July 12. These letters are attached.

  • The applications for Waterfront Development (Upland & In-Water Individual Permits) and Coastal Wetlands (Individual Permit) have been deemed by the NJDEP to be technically complete. Thus, they are “complete for review”, and this mean that the NJDEP has until September 25 to make a decision about granting or denying these particular permits.
  • Permit applications for Freshwater Wetlands and Flood Hazard Area remain technically deficient. The NJDEP has requested revised Stormwater Management calculations to account for soil units that were reported as different in soil survey reports and in geotechnical investigation reports. They also requested that Williams/Transco demonstrate that the road to the Higgins Farm EPA Remediation Building is not a practicable alternative to their proposed access road.

WHAT TO DO?

Use the attached sample letter and let the NJDEP know that you want them to schedule 3 fact-finding meetings (a.k.a. “public hearings”) near the proposed compressor station site in Franklin Twp., neat the pipeline proposed in Old Bridge and Sayreville, and near the Bayshore communities in Monmouth County who will be affected by the proposed in-water pipeline.

NOTE: Requests for new fact-finding meetings (public hearings) need to be received by the NJDEP by Friday, August 2.

Click here to download letter. Copy & paste the into an email, or print, sign and send by mail, adding anything that you think is relevant.

  • Email it to the NJDEP Commissioner and others involved in overseeing the permit reviews. Email addresses = below.
  • In the Subject line of your email, type: NESE June 2019 Permit applications – Requesting Hearings and more time.
  • Copy & paste these email addresses to use in the “Send” area:

Email to:
Commissioner@dep.nj.gov
Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov

Email copy to:
Christopher.Jones@dep.nj.gov
Stephen.Olivera@dep.nj.gov
Joslin.Tamagno@dep.nj.gov

You can also print the letter and add your personal information at the bottom to then snail mail it to the Commissioner McCabe.

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: 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.”