Red Bank officials oppose plan for gas pipeline through Raritan Bay

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RED BANK – The Borough Council in Red Bank has become the most recent governing body in Monmouth County to state its opposition to a gas pipeline that is proposed to be constructed through the Raritan Bay in the county’s Bayshore region.

During a meeting on May 13, council members unanimously passed a resolution which opposes the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project.

According to the resolution, Williams-Transco is proposing to build a 23-mile-long methane gas pipeline through the Raritan Bay, Lower New York Bay and Atlantic Ocean from Old Bridge to Rockaway, N.Y.

The alleged purpose of the project is to transport 400 million cubic feet of methane gas from the Marcellus Shale to New York, thereby significantly contributing to climate change, according to municipal officials.

On Jan. 21, Williams-Transco submitted a new application for NESE to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which marks the fourth time the company has sought approval for the project. In the resolution, council members said the project would not serve the interests of New Jersey or its residents.

Red Bank officials said the pipeline would have “severe negative impacts to the Raritan and Lower New York bays, such as disruption of roughly 14,165 acres of the seabed of the Raritan Bay; the discharge of 690,000 gallons of drilling fluid and chemicals into the bay; the re-suspending over 1 million tons of toxic muck contaminated by PCBs, dioxin, lead, mercury and arsenic; and the destruction of over 1,000 acres of benthic habitat that houses marine fish, shellfish and larva.”

In addition, NESE “will endanger marine (life) and wildlife through decreased water quality from re-suspended toxins, the sieving of over 3.5 million gallons of seawater destroying any living thing that is caught in the process, and the creation of loud sounds and powerful vibrations that accompany pipeline development which will impact migration patterns, communication systems and other important biological processes,” according to the resolution.

Municipal officials went on to say the pipeline would adversely impact industries important to the Bayshore communities, disturb commercial and recreational fishing and shell fishing activities, and potentially damage the tourism industry.

Borough Council members concluded by saying they and Mayor Pasquale Menna “strongly oppose the construction and installation of a methane gas pipeline through Raritan Bay. … Construction of the pipeline will negatively impact the health of the Bayshore, coastal ecosystems, marine life, benthic habitats and coastal communities.”

Municipal officials called on Williams-Transco “to eliminate any further consideration for a pipeline,” urged the DEP “to deny any permit application for the project and any other pipeline” and called on Red Bank’s representatives in the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and Gov. Phil Murphy “to oppose this pipeline and the current applications pending at the state and federal levels.”