It seems that everywhere you look, dirty fuel corporations are pushing projects that enhance their profits while putting public safety at risk.
The ironically-named “Southern Reliability Link” (SRL) is a prime example, and citizens are up in arms about the danger this project poses to several small South and Central Jersey communities.
There are two aspects to the SRL – First is a 30+ mile pipeline that starts in Chesterfield Township, winds through portions of Burlington, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties, and terminates in Manchester Township. This pipeline would transport highly pressurized natural gas from fracking wells in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Second, is a compression station, proposed near the border of Bordentown Township and Chesterfield Township, adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike. The current map on the New Jersey Natural Gas website is obsolete because it shows the pipeline traversing the Joint Base (McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst). Recently the commander of the base withheld approval due to the dangers the pipeline poses there.
Bordentown Township Mayor Jim Cann came in on a holiday weekend to speak about the dangers this project poses to his town.
This project poses high risk and offers no benefit to the towns on which it encroaches. While the proposed route is far from a densely populated urban area, there are homes, businesses, and schools within the blast areas of the compressor station, and residents would suffer from the inevitable leaks of toxic chemicals (including radioactive radon) that almost certainly will occur.
Even proponents of the pipeline admit there is sufficient natural gas transmission capacity to serve the needs of South Jersey customers, and are using Hurricane Sandy outages as justification for this project. But activists point out that the dirty fuel purveyors may have ulterior motives. It would be relatively easy to ship this excess natural gas to other countries – further eroding any “benefit” to the victims of fracking and leaking. The power companies may be planning to use the natural gas to power a proposed electricity-generation plant in Lacey Township to replace the generation capacity that will be lost with the closure of the nuclear power plant there in 2019. That “solution” would also add to the air pollution of surrounding areas.
Transco, the company proposing to build the highly-dangerous compressor station, will be presenting its case to the public at a town meeting at Chesterfield Elementary School (30 Saddle Way, Chesterfield) on Wednesday, December 2 at 7:00 PM. Those living in or near the affected areas might wish to attend.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the court of last resort for approval of this project. I wouldn’t count on Congressmen Tom MacArthur or Chris Smith for help in fighting their dirty energy benefactors. Nevertheless, I reached out to Congressman MacArthur’s office this past Wednesday for a statement. I have not received a response yet, but if and when I do, I’ll post it here.