Our work this year: Climate change, pipelines, establishing a framework for NJ’s clean energy mandate, contamination in Newark, and open space

The Eastern Environmental Law Center’s Board and staff sends best wishes for a happy holiday season and thanks you for supporting our mission: clean energy, open space, sustainable development, and environmental justice.

Climate change is an existential threat to the planet, yet numerous fossil fuel projects have been proposed for New Jersey, with gas pipelines planned to cut through the state to bring fracked gas from the Appalachians to the coast.  Recently developed fracking techniques have made new natural gas supplies available, and according to Credit Suisse, companies are racing to profit from this new fossil fuel supply, creating a boom where much of the market is overseas: “We see the strongest growth coming from those with exposure to the export market, as we believe marginal production will clear through exports.”  (Credit Suisse, initiating coverage, U.S. Midstream and Master Limited Partnerships, slide 4, Oct 10, 2018.).   EELC represents the NY/NJ Baykeeper, Food & Water Watch, the Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, and local communities, and contributes to an even broader coalition, that oppose pipeline projects and work to achieve NJ’s 2050 clean energy goals.  

Proposed site of NESE Compressor Station 206
Proposed site of NESE Compressor Station 206. Home of spring peepers and habitat for threatened barred owls. Seasonal vernal pools provide breeding habitat for amphibians. Williams/Transco is proposing a 32,000 horsepower compressor station adjacent to the Buddhist Vihara Center and near schools and thousands of homes in the Franklin/South Brunswick area. Station 206 would increase pressure and the danger of explosion in an aging 50-year old pipeline and allow fracked natural gas to be transported across the Raritan Bay to Long Island in a new pipeline whose construction would damage the Bay and its marine wildlife.

EELC achieved a major victory this year when the NJ Department of Environmental Protection denied permits for the $926 million Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project which would threaten the safety of many people’s homes and damage the Raritan Bay and its marine inhabitants.   There is no need for the fracked gas that is proposed to be transported by this project. 

In tandem with our pipeline work, EELC has broadened its efforts on implementing New Jersey’s clean energy mandate.  The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is holding stakeholder meetings and establishing rulemaking for the state’s Clean Energy Master Plan, and EELC has developed partnerships with multiple state and national environmental organizations as we assist in their efforts to influence important initiatives in Energy Efficiency, Electric Vehicles, Electric Storage, and the Energy Cloud.  We are representing the NRDC, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, NJ League of Conservation Voters, and Environment New Jersey as they respond to PSE&G’s $4 Billion Clean Energy Future proposal.

Over 25 cases are active on our legal docket.  EELC has expanded its efforts to address contamination in housing on a former industrial site at Manufacturers Place in Newark.  This year, we intervened on behalf of the Ironbound Community Corporation in a lawsuit against former owners of the site, where volatile organic compounds left in the groundwater are contaminating people’s homes which were illegally built in the Ironbound.  EELC has a new client, the Skylands Alliance, a member of the Highlands Coalition, that is working to protect a tributary to the Musconetcong River, and we are engaged with Hackensack Riverkeeper and Bergen SWAN to protect the watershed of northern Bergen County.

Our attorneys provide legal representation to community groups and environmental organizations who need EELC’s resources to pursue these critical environmental issues.  We receive funding from major foundations and public interest fees from clients, and we also rely on individual donors like you to support important environmental work.   We are able to provide pro-bono legal representation to environmental justice communities affected by contamination and air pollution because of your generous donations.  Our growing clean energy practice also needs your support.

EELC has been recognized for decades as the go-to public interest law center in New Jersey for environmental issues, and clients throughout the state turn to us when they are in need.   This is why we turn to you.  Our environment is under intense pressure, and we must rely now, more than ever, on citizens and public interest organizations to combat climate change, protect open space, and clean up our air, water and land.

Please donate as generously as you can this year, and please contact us if you wish to learn more about our work or need us. 

Best wishes for wonderful holidays,


Alexi Assmus, PhD      Edward Lloyd, Esq.                      

Co-Chairs, Board of Trustees

Eastern Environmental Law Center