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: 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

Status of Applications to NJDEP for water permits

Approximately 2,000 mailed and emailed letters were sent to the NJDEP requesting fact-finding meetings (“hearings”) on the water quality permit applications submitted by Williams/Transco on June 20, 2018.  THANK YOU!

NJDEP has started their review of the applications and, on July 18, 2018, they sent a letter to Williams/Transco and FERC identifying deficiencies with the applications.  

NJDEP has one calendar year to grant or deny the permit applications that they received on June 20, 2018, and Williams/Transco now expects to hear the decision in April 2019.

Since NJDEP has 90 days after holding fact-finding meetings to issue their decision, we are anticipating that the fact-finding meetings will be scheduled in the winter of 2018 once they have adequate information for the application reviews.  However, the meeting could be sooner. We’ll let you know when we learn more. Stay tuned!

Fact-Finding Meetings:

  • NJDEP staff will facilitate the meeting at a place that can hold many people.
  • 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.
  • It’ll probably start around 5:30 PM.  However, you can come later. If you want to speak, you will need to sign-up at the meeting to do this.

Send comments to the NJDEP

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

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

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

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

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

Keep sending comments to FERC

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

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

SEND COMMENTS TO FERC NOW, AND COPY NJDEP.

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

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

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

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

Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE) Overview

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

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

In Pennsylvania, they plan to add:

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

Plans for New Jersey

Raritan Bay Loop Pipeline
Sayreville, NJ into Raritan Bay

Madison Loop Pipeline
Old Bridge & Sayreville, NJ

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

Compressor Station 206    Franklin Township (Somerset County)

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

Two 50-foot smokestacks where:

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

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

 

Issues

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

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