Draft Environmental Impact Statement On Transco Gas Compressor Station Due In March

An artist’s rendering of Transco gas compressor station 206, targeted for a 52-acre tract in Franklin Park.

The draft report on the environmental effects of a proposed natural gas compressor station targeted for the township should be issued in March, according to a Jan. 3 announcement by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

That draft Environmental Impact Statement’s release by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will open a window for public comment before the final EIS is issued in September, according to the announcement.

The FERC will hold public comment sessions on the draft EIS, but the dates or locations of those sessions have not yet been released.

The issuance of the final EIS – which the FERC estimates will be on Sept. 17 – will trigger a 90-day period for other federal agencies that could issue permits for the project to make their comments, with those comments due on Dec. 16, according to the statement.

Although the schedule has been determined, the dates are not set in stone, according to the announcement.

“This schedule is predicated on Transco demonstrating a feasible and timely method for addressing general conformity, such that the final General Conformity Determination can be issued with the final EIS,” the statement said. “If a schedule change becomes necessary for the final EIS, an additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the Project’s progress.”

General conformity “ensures that the actions taken by federal agencies do not interfere with a state’s plans to attain and maintain national standards for air quality,” according to the EPA’s web site. “Under the General Conformity rule, federal agencies must work with state, tribal and local governments … to ensure that federal actions conform to the air quality plans established in the applicable state or tribal implementation plan.”

Williams-Transco has selected a 52-acre tract of land in Little Rocky Hill, near Route 518, for the 32,000-horsepower natural-gas powered twin turbine compressor station. The compressor station – which will raise the gas pressure in pipelines so the gas can make it to its final destination – is part of the company’s $1 billion multi-state Northeast Supply Enhancement Project.

The project has spurred opposition from township residents and officials, as well as South Brunswick residents who live close to the targeted area. Opponents say the compressor station will create air and noise pollution and presents a safety hazard.

Transco contends the compressor station is needed to meet the expanding demand of natural gas in the New York area.

Assuming it received all the necessary approvals, Transco anticipated starting construction on the station in 2018, but with the FERC’s new schedule, “early 2019 is now a more likely target,” said Transco spokesman Christopher Stockton.


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