Erg … the Gasland screening in my earlier promoting comment was last month, not tonight. My bad – 100% my bad – not KendalJames’ fault. – promoted by Rosi
On September 9, a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno, CA exploded, killing 8 people and injuring at least 60, some critically. According to the NTSB, an electrical problem caused the explosion. There were 47 pipeline incidents in the U.S. last year that caused serious injury or death. So in Jersey City, they’re trying to stop a pipeline.
If you go to the activist website NoGasPipeline.org you get the picture right away – noted shady energy outfit Spectra Energy wants to run a 30″ pipe – identical to the one that exploded in San Bruno – straight through Jersey City and into Manhattan. You could say that New York gets the gas and New Jersey gets nothing, but that’s not true – with the pipeline, Jersey City would assume a permanent dark cloud of grave danger and potential catastrophe; not to mention a blast radius that includes numerous schools, churches, homes and playgrounds, two hospitals, a chemical storage company and multiple redevelopment sites. (“Jersey City – come for the cheap real estate, stay for the slow poisoning and threat of fiery annihilation?”)
The activists behind No Gas Pipeline and their supporters do have some help in trying to keep this awfulness out of Jersey City, including Mayor Jeremiah Healy and his ’12 competition, councilman Steven Fulop (the earliest public supporter of the anti-pipeline effort), the NJ DEP, The Sierra Club and others. So if no one wants the pipeline built, why can’t they stop it or get it rerouted? Because in order for that to happen, Governor Christie must formally file for Intervenor status with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – the body that (almost always) approves of these kinds of projects. (Funny thing – Spectra Energy board member Nora Brownell was Commissioner of FERC under Bush-Cheney. Weird!) Just last week, Christie filed to intervene in the construction of a pipeline between Asbury Park and Middlesex County. “I will not subject our state’s shore and economy to the environmental risks that are inseparable from such a project,” said Christie of the pipeline that would be located 16 miles offshore. Yet he has yet to indicate any opposition Spectra’s plan for a pipe right through one of New Jersey’s most densely populated and economically vibrant areas.
Spectra Energy had agreed to come speak at a No Gas Pipeline-sponsored community forum scheduled to take place last week, but they bailed and instead decided to put up their own website, called YesGasPipeline.org. Despite such clever maneuvering, Spectra isn’t actually interested in persuading the people of Jersey City that this dangerous, toxic pipeline is a good idea. They don’t have to, because eminent domain and Governor Christie’s inaction will see them through.
Postscript: It’s worth noting that this pipeline will carry “fracked” gas, originating in the now-infamous Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. “Fracking” – or hydraulic fracturing – is Halliburton’s proprietary process for extracting natural gas from underground. Byproducts of fracking include poisoned water supplies, dire environmental damage, and very sick people. (Have you seen the clips of people who can light their tap water on fire? That’s a result of fracking, and it’s most certainly not good.) The recent Sundance-winning documentary Gasland is currently the best resource available for learning about fracking.