Stop the compressor stations

| 29 Jun 2022 | 04:19

    West Milford residents can still stop the reckless and unnecessary gas compressor proposed in our town.

    On, Thursday, August 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Sussex County Technical School in Sparta, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection will hold an important public hearing on the proposal of Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) to build a new fracked gas compressor station in West Milford and to triple the size of its compressor station in Wantage.

    In response to plans by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) to build a dangerous new fracked gas compressor station in our town, dozens of residents spent the first half of 2021 calling on the West Milford council to pass a resolution opposing the proposal and urging Governor Murphy to intervene and stop this. Instead of passing a resolution, however, the West Milford council made a formal commitment to refrain from taking a formal stance against this proposal. Let’s be clear, although this move was a complete abdication of our council’s responsibility to protect West Milford residents, the council has never had legal authority to approve or deny this project; that power lies with Governor Murphy and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

    If you’re not following this proposal, this major new fossil fuel project is proposed for construction in West Milford by multi-billion-dollar Texas-based TGP. They plan to build a new fracked gas compressor station along Burnt Meadow road so they can pressurize and pipe higher volumes of gas fracked in Pennsylvania through their pipeline that runs across North Jersey out to Westchester County, New York. This new compressor is part of TGP’s so-called “East 300 Upgrade” project, which also involves a major expansion of an existing compressor station 40 miles westward in Wantage, and expansion at a compressor in Pennsylvania. All of the gas is for use in NY, at a time when NY’s own climate and clean energy goals prioritize getting off of polluting fossil fuels. This gas is primarily made up of methane and other volatile compounds, including benzene, which is known to make people sick with headaches, nauseous, neurological symptoms, and can even cause cancer. Compressors regularly release gas directly into the air during testing, maintenance, and when too much pressure builds up in the pipeline, and we cannot forget the leaks and blowouts which are regular occurrences at these accident-prone facilities. As an example, on January 1st of this year, Wantage had an accidental release of gas and never let residents know. This could happen in West Milford. Slated for construction less than 1,200 feet from the Monksville Reservoir, this proposal brings serious risks to this major reservoir, and health concerns to residents in the surrounding communities.

    Many West Milford residents have been told by TGP that this project is a done deal. This is false. Advocacy groups are appealing both the federal approval granted by FERC and the exemption to the Highlands Act granted by the NJ DEP for construction of the facility here in West Milford. And a critical permit required by the NJDEP for this project remains yet to be issued. This “Title V” Air Permit, essentially a “permit to pollute” is required for the expansion of the Wantage compressor station where TGP seeks to triple the size of the existing facility. Before the DEP makes a decision on this pending permit, they are holding a public hearing on the proposal on August 4 in Sparta. I ask my neighbors across West Milford to join me in Sparta on August 4 at 5:30 to call on the NJDEP to reject this permit. Details are posted at

    Many of us remember the damage TGP caused to our communities a decade ago during their last pipeline expansion. They cut their way through our forests leaving a trail of destruction, including causing a major mudslide which caused lasting siltation to Lake Lookover and Bearfort Waters, damage to drinking wells, petrochemical spills, and death to hundreds of turtles, and on top of it all, TGP failed to replant the majority of the trees as required by their remediation. West Milford had to apply for a grant and replant the trees themselves. With this track record in our community, it’s unfathomable that the DEP would even consider allowing TGP the opportunity to cause more damage to our communities.

    But whether or not the DEP decides to issue the final permits for this project, Governor Murphy has the authority to direct the DEP to reject or revoke the permits for this proposal. We must show up in force at the public hearing in Sparta to show the Governor and the DEP that residents will not sell out our communities to out of state polluters. And then after the public hearing we must continue to call on Governor Murphy to demand he intervenes and stops this proposal. Other NJ communities have been successful in stopping fossil fuel projects proposed in their towns, the Meadowlands Powerplant in North Bergen, the NorthEast Supply Enhancement Pipeline in Central Jersey, and the PennEast Pipeline were all stopped because communities came together and called on Governor Murphy to live up to his climate and environmental commitments and reject these dangerous and unnecessary projects. We can do that too, but time is running out. Now is the time to get involved. Join us at

    Renee B Allessio

    West Milford