More Pipelines, More Controversy

Six contentious Garden State pipeline projects currently in the works.

The South Jersey Gas pipeline isn’t the only pipeline project drawing attention in the Garden State. According to Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, there are about 11 pipelines that have been recently completed, approved, or are enmeshed in the approval process.

“Most of these pipelines present serious problems, like running under streams or cutting through parks, farms and environmentally sensitive areas,” says Tittel. “New Jersey was once known as the Crossroads of the Revolution. Now it seems we’re the Crossroads of the Pipeline.”

Here are the most contentious Garden State pipeline projects currently in the works:

1. PennEast Pipeline

PennEast and partners is seeking federal approval for its proposed $1 billion PennEast Pipeline, a 113-mile-long, 36-inch diameter conduit that would run from the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania to Hopewell Township in Mercer County. Tittel claims more than 40 percent of its length would run through land set aside for open space and farmland preservation. This comes on the heels of Spectra’s New Jersey-New York Expansion Project, a 20-mile extension of its existing lines that was completed in 2013 to provide more gas to North Jersey and New York City.

 2. Southern Reliability Link

New Jersey Natural Gas is seeking Board of Public Utilities approval of its 28-mile Southern Reliability Link, a natural gas pipeline that would run from Chesterfield Township in Burlington County to North Hanover, Upper Freehold, Plumsted and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst before connecting to the utility’s system in Manchester Township, Ocean County. According to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, the proposed route would pass through a Pinelands Preservation Area. “This is one of the reasons it’s so important to oppose the South Jersey Gas pipeline,” says Tittel. “If that gets approved, there’s nothing stopping this one from running through the Pinelands as well.”

3. Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. Pipeline

Built in the early 1990s, the Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. pipeline runs from Hellertown, Pennsylvania, to Hanover Township in Morris County. Columbia is about to begin work on a significant expansion of the pipeline, which would run from Chester County, Pennsylvania, under the Delaware River, and through 9.5 miles of Logan and Woolwich townships in Gloucester County. According to Columbia Gas, the expansion comes “in response to customer demand-driven need for additional pipeline capacity.”

4. The Williams’ Transco Line

The Williams’ Transco line—which winds more than 10,000 miles from Texas and Louisiana to New York—has recently undergone 22 expansion projects, including a 10-mile stretch called the Northern New Jersey Lateral, which passes through densely populated River Vale, Old Tappan, Harrington Park, Emerson, Oradell and Paramus. Williams has also proposed the Leidy Southeast Expansion, a project that would involve about 30 miles of additional pipe loops in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including a seven-mile loop through Somerset and Hunterdon counties and a six-mile loop through Somerset and Mercer counties.

5. The Tennessee Gas Pipeline

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline—which covers 13,900 miles from Texas to Boston—was recently expanded to include two new loops stretching 7.6 miles in Bergen and Passaic counties and nearly 11 miles in Sussex County.

6. Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings

It’s not all about natural gas. Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings recently proposed a new, 178-mile pipeline that would transport crude oil from Albany, New York, to the Bayway Refinery in Linden, running through parts of the New Jersey Highlands. According to Tittel, 25 of the 28 New Jersey townships along the proposed route have passed resolutions opposing the project.

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