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In Your Opinion: Proposed Pipeline Construction Threatens Wildlife Habitats

Submitted by Franklin Township Task Force on Compressor Station 206 & NESE’s Steering Committee.

Series Issue 4:  Construction threatens wildlife and habitats on land and in the bay.

The fishing and tourism industry in/by the Raritan Bay should be protected for the people who depend on it, those who enjoy it, and the marine life that depends on us to maintain decades of efforts to clean up the waters in the bay.

The waters in Raritan Bay were once referred to as a “dead sea”.  They have become cleaner due to years of work.  After decades of cleaning up the waters in the bay, marine life that had once vanished has begun to return.   Whales are seen with increased frequency in Raritan Bay, and communities of seals live on Sandy Hook and an island by the Verrazano Bridge.  Source:  Brown, D.M., Robbins, J., Sieswerda, P.L., Schoelkopf, R., & Parsons, E.C.M.  (2018 January).  Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) sightings in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary.  Marine Mammal Science, 34(1): 250-257.

Dredging up buried toxins like PCBs, arsenic and lead from the seabed will poison fish, shellfish and marine life in the Raritan and Lower NY Bays.  The creatures that others depend on for food, like horseshoe crabs, are also threatened by what they call resuspended toxins.

Hundreds of acres of seafloor will be dug up to install a pipeline that’d be over 23 miles long, and over 15,000 acres would be used as workspace for the vessels that are needed for this construction.  Additionally, boaters will not be allowed to use certain areas during construction.

Nine months of 24/7 construction in the bay also poses a hazard to marine life from vessel strikes and noise.  According to their 7/25/18 supplemental information, Williams/Transco is seeking permission for Level B “takes” (indicating expectation that acoustical harassment will disrupt behavioral patterns such as migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering) for 4,601 Bottlenose Dolphins, 24 Common Dolphins, 5 Harbor Porpoise, 11 Harbor Seals, 5 Gray Seals, 4 Harp Seals, 1 Fin Whale, and 1 North Atlantic Whale.

Clearing of forested land to build Compressor Station 206 will remove habitat for a variety of birds and wildlife, and it will create new areas that might encourage their predators to live there as well as increase flooding potential.  The plan is to permanently remove 14 to 15 acres of forest for the CS206 facility and access road and to disturb 30 acres for construction.

Construction noise harms marine mammals, and compressor station operational noise could harm nearby birds.

We enjoy wildlife and are proud of the efforts to clean up the Raritan Bay since the 1970’s.  Don’t let the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project add pollution to the bay, harm marine life and their habitat, or threaten those whose livelihood depends on clean water and a return of marine life to the Raritan Bay.

What can you do?

Tell the NJDEP that you want them to (1) hold public hearings (“fact-finding meetings”) and (2) deny the new water permit applications for the NESE Project.

Sign the online petition: https://secure.foodandwaterwatch.org/act/stop-transco-pipeline-and-compressor-station

Use the attached letter, add your personal information at the end, and send it, along with any written comments, to the NJDEP people listed below. You can either email it by August 3 or mail the completed letter by August 1.

Send emails of letters to:

Commissioner@dep.nj.gov

Ruth.Foster@dep.nj.gov

Matthew.Resnick@dep.nj.gov

Christopher.Jones@dep.nj.gov

Mail letters to:

Catherine R. McCabe, Commissioner & Ruth W. Foster, PhD., P.G., Acting Director (addresses are on the letter) and to:

Bureau of Urban Growth & Redevelopment – Division of Land Use Regulation

501 East State Street, 2nd Floor

PO Box 420 – Mail Code 501-02A

Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

Attn.:  Matthew Resnick & Christopher Jones

Tell your State Representatives to support Joe Danielsen’s Resolution AR164, and encourage your State Senators to do a companion resolution opposing the NESE Project.  See attachment.

Tell your local, state and federal officials about your concerns with the NESE Project and ask them to act to protect you.

Write comments to FERC about your concerns.

Go to www.scrap-NESE.org for information about the NESE Project, sample comments, the letter to NJDEP, and actions to take.

 

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