June 22, 2020 - Drilling for a controversial gas pipeline project caused cracks in foundation, basement wall and floor of a house in Monmouth County. In addition to allowing drilling sludge to enter the basement of the house, there was sufficient structural damage done that an inspector declared the building unsafe. Furthermore, the sludge entered into a nearby stream in Upper Freehold Township. See the article in Star-Ledger/NJ.com:
Why should you care?
Remember the Williams Transco NESE Raritan Bay gas pipeline project? Or the regulator station that Holmdel Township is now opposing in a case before an OAL judge as part of an appeal with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities case? Or the gas regulator station before Hazlet’s Land Use Board?
They are connected, literally and figuratively.
This controversial project, called the Southern Reliability Link, runs about 30 miles through Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington counties. A lawsuit to overturn approvals by the New Jersey BPU and Pinelands is pending. As you see from a NJ Natural Gas pipeline map, when fully completed, it will allow the movement of gas to bypass the Franklin Township compressor station that is part of the NESE project that our onshore coalition has been opposing.
There is no doubt that some of the gas transmission lines in certain towns such as Holmdel, Hazlet and Middletown needed an upgrade. In 2010/2011, NJ Natural Gas replaced the existing 10-inch gas transmission pipeline in Holmdel with 16-inch pipe. Just this one change increased “volume” by 250%. However, on top of this, NJ Natural Gas then also increased the operating pressure of the pipelines to 722 PSIG – the same operating pressure for NJ Natural Gas’ Southern Reliability Link, a 30” pipeline. This allows NJ Natural Gas the ability to move a lot more gas through its transmission lines than ever before.
The question is why is this needed?
The population of Monmouth County has been flat for the past 10 years and residential gas consumption grew at 1% per annum for the past 10 years. In addition, according to experts, New Jersey already has more than sufficient gas capacity for the foreseeable future, including through the polar vortex.
When seen through the lens of a larger master plan, these so-called “reliability” enhancement projects serve primarily to move the cheap and abundant fracked-gas in Pennsylvania to be transported through New Jersey to allow it to be exported to outside of the United States.
In Holmdel and Hazlet, it is NJ Natural Gas’ own doing that caused the need for two regulator stations that residents don’t need or want; an action that doesn’t benefit the residents of the two towns or New Jersey for that matter.
Grassroots opposition has been saying that these projects cause collateral damage to residents along the path of the pipelines and detrimental environmental impact, all at the expense to ratepayers under the pretext that it is for enhancing reliability when it is for profits to private energy companies.
Now, we can see first-hand the collateral damage in the form of an unsafe home and the impact on plant and fish that lived in the stream filled with gooey muck. And this is just the start of the project!