Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, (Transco) received a two-year extension of time to construct and place into service the expansion facilities authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project (NESE) as of May 19.
The Williams Company operates the Transco pipeline, a 10,000-mile interstate transmission pipeline system that transports much of the natural gas consumed in the northeastern United States.
The system includes more than 50 compressor facilities and currently features more than 500 miles of pipe and five compressor facilities in New Jersey, according to information provided by Williams regarding the NESE project.
The NESE project is a proposed $1 billion enhancement of existing Transco infrastructure in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York that includes a proposed new compressor facility in Franklin Township, known as Station 206. The facility would feature two natural gas-fired turbine compressor units with a combined output of 32,000 horsepower.
The preferred location is a 52-acre tract about 1 mile south of the intersection of Route 27 and Route 518; the 16-acre site would be surrounded by a wooded buffer, according to the company.
For more than five years, residents have expressed concerns because of the proximity of the proposed compressor station to the Trap Rock Industries rock quarry in Kingston; the potential for clay byproducts to be disturbed during construction; the possibility of leaks, fires and explosions; and quality of life disruptions due to health and environmental concerns.
“It is completely shameful that Transco is back, again. FERC has granted them two more years to try to get permits even though both New Jersey and New York denied their permits last year. Now, New Jersey needs to step up and use the 401 Water Quality Certificate to stop this project once and for all,” Taylor McFarland, chapter coordinator of Sierra Club New Jersey, said in a prepared statement. “We’ve beat Transco twice, and we’re going to keep fighting until we beat them again. This project is completely unnecessary. The gas companies get the money, New York gets the gas, and we get the pipe. We must continue to fight to stop this project to protect the public health and safety, and the environment.”
In May 2020, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denied the NESE project, citing concerns over water quality and aquatic life. Within days, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denied the Wetland and 401 Water Quality Permits for the project.
The extension from FERC lasts until May 3, 2023.
“This sham decision by FERC to permit Transco its extension flies in the face of overwhelming community opposition and rejections by New Jersey and New York of water permits. When a baseball batter strikes out, they don’t get to appeal and take another swing. Transco needs to be sent packing,” Gary Frederick, conservation chair of the Raritan Valley Group, Sierra Club New Jersey chapter, said in the statement.
Ed Potosnak, executive director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, also commented, “I am furious that even with the new Biden Administration, FERC is continuing business as usual, being a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry. I am deeply disappointed that FERC didn’t respect New Jersey and New York’s rejections of William Transco’s NESE methane pipeline project. NESE isn’t needed, New York and New Jersey don’t want it, and it poses a threat to clean water, wildlife, and the safety and health of New Jersey communities.
“NESE is a prime example of a ‘zombie pipeline’ – projects that continue to try to be built even after it’s determined they don’t meet New Jersey’s legal requirements to protect our drinking water and environment. History seems to be repeating itself,” he said.