Wantage opposes gas compressor stations

Wantage. On Feb. 11, the Wantage Township Committee passed the following resolution opposing the Wantage and West Milford Compressor Station that Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company plans to build.

| 15 Feb 2021 | 05:29

WHEREAS, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (“TGP”) has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” and to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for a Highlands Act exemption, air pollution permits, freshwater wetlands permit, stormwater management permits, and other permits required for its proposed “East 300 Upgrade Project”; and

WHEREAS, this project includes the construction of a 19,000-horsepower gas compression station (“Compressor 327”) at 960 Burnt Meadow Road, Township of West Milford, Passaic County, N.J., and the construction of an additional 20,500 hp gas-powered turbine at an existing compression station, “CS 325,” at 164 Libertyville Road in Wantage Township, Sussex County, N.J.; and

WHEREAS, these projects will significantly increase the amount and pressure of gas transported through the pipeline from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to Westchester County, N.Y., much of this pipeline is 65 years old and beyond its useful life, and sections of which run near homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure in dozens of Northern New Jersey communities; and increases the risk of leaks and catastrophic explosions, which can result in property destruction and deaths when they occur; and

WHEREAS, according to Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) failure reports, from 2006 to 2017 TGP had 111 significant incidents with their pipelines, resulting in $89,815,380 in property damage and 19 federal enforcement actions and such incidents may escalate as pipelines age; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Compressor 327 in West Milford is located in the Highland Preservation Area, an exceptional natural resource which provides drinking water to more than half of the state of New Jersey and this project is near two major reservoirs, protected wetlands, and a Category 1 Exceptional Value Stream, and construction and ongoing operation of these proposed industrial facilities can lead to groundwater pollution from chromium, benzene and hydrocarbons; and

WHEREAS, in addition to normal operational emissions associated with gas-fired compressor stations, other sources of periodic emissions include planned and unplanned blowdowns, leaked gas (“fugitives”) and accidents, as well as leaks of volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) removed from the gas stream and stored on site including hydrogen sulfide, mercury and other contaminants; and

WHEREAS, VOCs present at compressor stations include nitrogen dioxide, ethyl benzene, benzene, ethane, methanol, naphthalene and toluene; short term exposure to these chemicals can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, fatigue, loss of coordination, allergic skin reaction, nausea, and memory impairment; long-term effects include loss of coordination and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Many VOCs are known carcinogens, and benzene specifically is associated with childhood leukemia; and

WHEREAS, in addition to VOC pollution, Particulate Matter (PM) released from compressors also poses a significant health concern and can interact with airborne VOCs increasing their impact. PM of 2.5 mm may pose the greatest threat to the health of nearby residents, and inhalation affects both the respiratory and cardiovascular systems causing decreased lung function, aggravated asthma symptoms, and nonfatal heart attacks and high blood pressure; and

WHEREAS, natural gas is primarily made up of methane, a significant contributor to climate change, and is released during planned and unplanned blowdowns, and found to leak at every stage of the supply chain; and

WHEREAS, a flash fire at the Williams Transco gas compressor in Branchburg, N.J., in 2013 caused two workers to be hospitalized and injuries to 13 others; and

WHEREAS, TGP’s 300-line project completed in November, 2011 seriously damaged Lake Lookover in Hewitt, N.J., and Bearfort Waters in West Milford including the siltation and destruction of waterways through mudslides, increased flooding and impacts to drinking water wells; and

WHEREAS, during construction at the Williams Transco compressor station in Roseland, N.J., in 2013, the company conducted a “blow-down” of the facility, and released a large amount of gas and other chemicals into the local community, forcing an emergency evacuation of the nearby Roseland Elementary School; and

WHEREAS, in 2013 a 12,000 hp Compressor Station came online across the New York border from Wantage in Minisink, N.Y., and has caused serious health impacts to residents including nosebleeds, headaches, rashes, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms; and

WHEREAS, the proposed TGP projects are within one mile of important natural and recreational resources, including two state parks, a state park trail, and a Wildlife Management Area, including High Point State Park, the Monksville Reservoir, Long Pond Ironworks State Park, Highlands Trail and Wanaque Wildlife Area; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Committee of the Township of Wantage believe there are other alternatives to the installation of a 19,000-horsepower gas compression station in this location which is situate in a residentially zoned area including but not limited to: rerouting the pipeline away from prime residential areas, using an electric turbine compressor, and moving the equipment to a more remote, secure, and appropriately zoned area; and,

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Committee of the Township of Wantage has a principal responsibility to protect the health and safety of its residents, visitors, and businesses; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Committee of Township of Wantage County of Sussex State of New Jersey, in the interest of protecting its residents and businesses opposes construction of the fracked gas Compressor 327 station, the addition of a gas-powered turbine at the existing compression station CS 325 and TGP’s attempt to exclude its activities from the Highlands Preservation Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Wantage Township Clerk shall forward this Resolution to FERC, President Joe Biden, Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, Governor Phil Murphy.

Mayor William Gaechter

Deputy Mayor Ronald Bassani

Committeeman Jonathan Morris