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Holmdel Environmental Commission finds issues with proposal from NJNG

 The Holmdel Environmental Commission suggested that the proposed development of a New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) regulator station could have a negative impact on the environment in the municipality. 

NJNG seeks variances to construct a regulator station, access and utilities on a 16-acre site at 960 Holmdel Road in Holmdel, according to the environmental commission.

The same type of facility at 970 Holmdel Road was denied by the Holmdel Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2016. NJNG is now presenting the facility on a neighboring property, according to the environmental commission.

NJNG is a statewide supplier of natural gas and serves more than 525,000 customers in Monmouth, Ocean, Morris, Middlesex and Burlington counties, according to its website.

The NJNG application is scheduled to come before the zoning board for a public hearing on Sept. 12.

On Aug. 8, Michael Kinney, director of corporate communications for NJNG, said, “We continue to have open dialogue with Holmdel. The regulator station is needed to support the reliability of NJNG’s distribution system. It reduces pressure on the system to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas to customers in Holmdel and the surrounding communities.”

When describing the nature of the proposed facility, Kinney said, “The regulator station will consist primarily of underground piping, as well as a heating unit and control box, along with two regulator runs to be located above ground. For comparison, it looks like a commercial size boiler. The equipment will be fenced in and landscaped in order to shield it from public view.”

According to an Aug. 9 advisory memorandum from the environmental commission to zoning board members and the board’s professional staff, the proposed development of an NJNG regulator station could alter the quality of several Category 1 waterways in Monmouth County. 

The environmental commission said Category 1 waterways should be protected from changes to the pre-existing condition of the water. The construction of a regulator station could negatively affect the quality of the water, according to the environmental commission.

“We believe the emissions from the proposed regulator facility could cause degradation to the waters in the Swimming River Reservoir watershed. Our position is that the chemicals emitted from the natural gas burners will cause harm to the tributaries in the watershed located in the area of Holmdel Road,” the memorandum states.

The environmental commission is requesting proof from NJNG that local waterways will not be impacted by the construction of a regulator station. The memo affirms that a permit is required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection before any action is carried out by NJNG or the municipality.

NJNG engineers have said a permit is not required, at present, according to the advisory memorandum.

“Engineers from NJNG have stated that the level of chemicals emitted from the proposed regulator station are inconsequential as compared to the total emissions within New Jersey and should not be of any concern. The Holmdel Environmental Commission is concerned about any impact emissions might have on our waterways,” the memorandum states.

Included in the advisory memorandum is an attachment to a report from the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. The environmental commission is encouraging members of the zoning board to read the report before making any decisions on the NJNG application.

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