Township officials have been notified by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC that the company is under contract to purchase 47 acres of land at 960 Burnt Meadow Road in Hewitt. This is land that the Tilcon Co. formerly used as a quarry.
In 2012 Tennessee Gas installed their pipeline connection through West Milford. The project was approved by federal regulators and accordingly the route remains in service throughout North Jersey.
Mayor Michele Dale said that Tennessee Gas has reported that it intends to use the property to build a compressor station that is purported to be efficient and highly regulated under the federal Clean Air Act.
“We have been further advised that the facility, once constructed, will have two to five employees on site,” Dale said. “Tennessee Gas also advises that the level of noise from the facility will be less than 55 decibels. It will be monitored 24 hours seven days a week and be screened from adjacent properties. This was not what the township envisioned or solicited in any way for this property, and much like the construction of the pipeline, this is solely within the jurisdiction of the federal government.”
The project is regulated by the federal government and the entity known as FERC (the Federal Energy Commission.)
“From the township perspective we can certainly participate in and review any application submitted to FERC, but the ultimate determination rests with FERC,” Dale said. “In other words township zoning cannot override or stop this application.”
The mayor said she asked the gas company to provide township officials with a summary of frequently asked questions regarding the compressor station. She said that going forward it is essential that opinions, concerns and objections be shared with FERC during any application process. She suggested that the township hold a remote meeting with residents who are located in the vicinity of Burnt Meadow Road to share the information the town has, answer questions and gather comments and concerns about the project.
Dale said that while the project has not commenced and an application has not been submitted, local officials want to be prepared and share information as it becomes available.
Ultimately the project may never happen but the town leaders would rather ensure that residents are aware of its possibility and the process involved, rather than have the application move forward without local concerns and input on record. A zoom meeting was planned for June 30 with participants registering in order to keep it confidential. No representatives of the property or Tennessee Gas attended.