In Your Opinion: Township Environmental Commission Opposes North East Supply Enhancement Project

The below comments were submitted on April 3rd this year to the Governor and DEP Commissioner on behalf of the Franklin Township Environmental Commission, Somerset County.

To: Governor Phil Murphy and NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe

The NJDEP’s primary objective is to protect the people of New Jersey from environmental health hazards and risks. In May 2018 Governor Murphy signed the Renewable Energy Bill that establishes one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the Country. It sets specific goals for the use of renewable energy sources by 2020 and 2025 leading to our required use of Class 1 renewable energy sources in NJ to be 50% by 2030. He signed an executive order directing state agencies to develop an Energy Master Plan that provides a path to 100% clean energy by 2050.

The North East Supply Enhancement Project is antithetical to the Governor’s clean energy goals. That makes it contrary to the DEP’s goal of keeping us safe and out of harms’ way.
Water pollution from NESE will contribute to ground water contamination impacting our potable water. Greenhouse gases including methane will be leaked and exhausted into the air for decades. It will add to increased climate change leading to sea level rise and more local and global severe weather events including flooding. This, at a time when our Governor wants to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels. This project provides zero benefit for New Jersey. It is for the benefit of New York’s energy needs and the Williams/Transco bottom line – but the immediate pollution will be ours to own, short term locally, long term globally.

Air pollution caused by this unnecessary project, which moves us away from New Jersey’s high clean energy goals, will add to the increase in carbon dioxide which will increase the amount and potency of allergens such as ragweed and airborne fungi that exacerbates asthma and other forms of respiratory distress. Warmer temperatures created by additional unneeded fossil fuel from this project – again – contrary to the Governor’s clean energy plan, also exacerbates the risk of Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus.

Every new project, such as this, slows down our progress to defeat climate change. Each additional project like this accelerates global warming that results in loss of and damage to property, damage to businesses, and the environment all of which can result in stress, anxiety and depression.

The Governor has a plan for a healthier New Jersey which will contribute to a healthier world. It’s the DEP’s responsibility to carry out the Governor’s plan.

That said I implore the DEP to follow Governor Murphy’s plan and deny approval of all of the applicants permits, focus on renewable energy, and stop this unnecessary project.

Respectfully Submitted,

Arnold W. Schmidt

Member, Franklin Township Environmental Commission, Somerset County


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