Newark, NJ (June 6, 2019) – Environmental groups and impacted homeowners declare victory and applaud the Murphy administration’s New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for the June 5, 2019 denial of Williams/Transco’s proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project, which would transport fracked natural gas through New Jersey from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to energy markets in New York City. The specific elements of the project primarily would have consisted of a new compressor station in Somerset County, NJ; increased pipeline pressure and capacity throughout existing Pennsylvania and New Jersey pipelines; and almost twenty-seven miles of new pipeline from Sayreville, New Jersey across the Raritan Bay to gas terminals in Rockaway Queens, New York. The NJDEP’s denial effectively means that the project cannot move forward unless Transco re-applies and is granted the permits.
The Eastern Environmental Law Center (EELC) represents NY/NJ Baykeeper, Food & Water Watch – New Jersey, Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, and the Princeton Manor Homeowners Association, who have numerous concerns regarding the NESE Project. Many of the individual members of these clients live close by the proposed new compressor station and pipelines included in the Project.
“NJDEP’s denial of the NESE project permits is the correct application of law and science – something that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) failed to do in its certification.” said Michele Langa, Staff Attorney at NY/NJ Baykeeper. “New York and now New Jersey have both rejected NESE as a project that damages the environment and is not in the public interest.”
The NJDEP agrees with the above environmental groups and impacted homeowners, and deemed that the project would cause significant adverse environmental impacts. The state of New Jersey recognizes the significant impacts to water, wildlife, and the safety and health of communities that were raised by elected officials, federal and state agencies, scientists, and citizens in comments to the NJDEP.
Langa of NY/NJ Baykeeper stressed that “if built, this pipeline would have disrupted commercial and recreational fishing and boating, having an adverse impact on marinas and boaters in Cheesequake Creek, Sandy Hook, and the rest of the Raritan Bay area. Construction of the pipeline would also have dredged up toxic sediments in the Bay and disturb 14,000 acres of habitat for shellfish, horseshoe crabs, and marine mammals. If Transco re-applies for the needed permits, NY/NJ Baykeeper will continue to fight the damaging NESE pipeline with sound science and the law to keep it from harming our beautiful bay, our air, our water, our health, our safety, and our planet.”
Barry Kutch, the leader of Central New Jersey Safe Energy Coalition, stated that “we applaud the NJDEP and the Murphy administration for denying this pipeline that would have increased our reliance on fossil fuels. It is good to see that citizens’ voices matter, and that the thousands of citizens opposing NESE were heard and the law was correctly applied. If Transco re-applies, we vow to keep fighting to protect our communities and our state from this project that threatens our health, safety, and environment.”
Eileen Balaban Eisenberg and Pradip Chakravarti, the leaders of the Princeton Manor Homeowners Association, a senior community that is in the shadow of the proposed compressor station, praised the NJDEP’s decision, saying “We feel vindicated that our concerns were heard and the NJDEP stood up for the people of NJ. This project brings nothing but harm to our Township and NJ with no benefits.”
Junior Romero, NJ Regional Organizer for Food & Water Watch, emphasized that NJDEP’s denial means that Transco cannot proceed with its pipeline. If Transco chooses to re-apply, Romero said that “we ask that the NJDEP and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) again deny the permits under their strict application standards. It’s gratifying in light of Trump’s pro-fossil fuel policies and FERC’s record that the states have stepped up to stop projects, like NESE, that take us in the wrong direction.”
The permit denial can be downloaded here.