Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Garden State Morphs into the Pipeline State

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Garden State Morphs into the Pipeline State

Article excerpt

Last week the New Jersey Pinelands Commission voted, 8-4 with one abstention, to approve an application to construct a natural gas pipeline through New Jersey's treasured Pinelands, a dear and environmentally sensitive natural preserve in South Jersey. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Staff Writer Scott Fallon reported that a plan by a huge energy interest to build a half-mile natural gas pipeline in the Meadowlands was recently submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

That commission, FERC, has made it a habit in recent years of approving several such pipelines to carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey. One of those pipelines, built through a protected area of the Highlands preserve, has been particularly upsetting to residents and environmentalists.

Add it all up, and these developments, on the whole, represent the emergence of a disturbing trend: New Jersey is transforming from the Garden State into the Pipeline State.

It is, perhaps, past time to push the pause button on all these pipeline projects and consider the very real hazards they represent. The new pipeline project in the Meadowlands, proposed by Oklahoma-based energy giant Williams, would upgrade more than 10 miles of pipeline through Bergen County to allow about 10 percent more gas to be pumped to northeastern customers for heat and electricity generation. The work would include the placement of a new 42-inch pipeline parallel to two existing pipes that already run along Metro Road in Carlstadt.

Bill Sheehan, executive director of the Hackensack Riverkeeper, said the Williams project is being built too close to protected wetlands, marshes which have, after years of rehabilitation and cleanup, begun to make a comeback following decades of industrial pollution and commercial environmental abuse. As The Record has reported, the wetlands are now cleaner, and starting to once more attract a greater number of wildlife species back to the area. …

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