In Your Opinion: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You – But – You Can Do Something about It

Submitted by the Franklin Township Task Force on Compressor Station 206 and NESE.

For the health, safety and future of our families and communities, we continue to oppose the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Project.

Williams/Transco needs permits from NJ and NY before any construction of NESE could start on their proposed compressor station in Franklin Township and pipeline in Old Bridge/Sayreville and under Raritan Bay and Lower New York Harbor.  This is one of the conditions in their certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions (FERC).

NESE’s permit applications have been rejected by NJDEP and NYSDEC as well as withdrawn-and-resubmitted by Williams/Transco several times during the past two and one-half years due to incomplete information and not meeting regulatory standards designed to protect our waters.  Comments to NJDEP, resolutions by townships and rallies by concerned residents have been heard, but IT’S NOT OVER.

At this time, the NJDEP is reviewing third and fourth sets of applications for permits for NESE that address requirements about water quality, discharge of pollutants into waters, stormwater management, and impacts on the environment and threatened/endangered species and their habitats.  The permits can only be issued if they meet the requirements in the Freshwater Wetlands, Flood Hazard Area, Stormwater Management and Coastal Zone Management regulations. 

NJDEP cannot make decisions on the pending permit applications based on health or safety concerns, but NJDEP’s denial of permit applications could relieve the health and safety concerns about NESE for people throughout Central Jersey since NESE can’t be built without the permits. 

All of the disinformation by those desperate to maintain fossil fuel profit-making and the destructive energy systems of yesterday may have led to discord and division, but people who are aware of the dangers of NESE remain hopeful that NJDEP and NYSDEC will do the right thing and deny the permit applications.

The cooperative efforts of many people and elected officials in New Jersey and New York who care about people and the environment – today and for the future – have alerted decision-makers of the legal, scientific and moral reasons for the NJDEP and NYSDEC to deny permit applications for NESE.

The NJDEP and Governor Murphy need to keep hearing from many who are concerned about the impacts of NESE.  They have the power and responsibility to apply regulatory standards to NESE’s permit applications to deny them.


Call Governor Murphy at 888-724-8943 or 609-292-6000 between 9AM and 5PM and leave a message saying that you expect the NJDEP to deny the permit applications for the NESE Project since they do not meet the stringent environmental standards required for the permits.

To learn more and take action, visit the websites below:

  • Scrap-NESE.org
  • CleanOceanAction.org
  • StopTheWilliamsPipeline.org

Some Health & Safety Concerns about NESE:

We know that natural gas compressor stations and pipelines do leak, catch on fire or explode, and the prime component of natural gas – methane – is extremely flammable.

Critical information about the designs and state of the pipelines to which NESE’s pipelines and compressor station are planned to connect is not available for public review.  Williams/Transco gets to hide studies and data that are needed to determine the level of imminent danger posed by construction and operation of the proposed NESE Project.

Meeting regulatory requirements for permits does not mean that harmful mistakes don’t happen.  Devastating accidents on natural gas infrastructure are published in newspapers frequently.  For example, a transmission pipeline exploded in West Virginia in June 2018 several months after this “best-in-class” pipeline was put into service.

Williams/Transco says they value safety, but their record of safety violations and accidents causes concern.

In documents filed with FERC, NJDEP and NYSDEC, Williams/Transco has identified dangers from construction and operation of NESE:

  • Construction would unearth over 1 million cubic yards of toxic sediment from the seabed in Raritan Bay and Lower New York Harbor where mercury, PCBs, arsenic and lead, among other harmful elements are currently buried beneath the seabed.  Some of this would then settle on top of the seafloor, smothering benthic creatures and poisoning bottom-feeders like the endangered Atlantic sturgeon.  Other sediment is proposed to be dumped in the waters between the Highlands of NJ and Rockaway of NY at the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS) or, for the more toxic sediment, moved by barges and trucks to site(s) on land in NJ.
  • In this cleaned-up area where marine life has returned after decades of poor water quality from industrial dumping, the of noise from pile drivings for NESE is anticipated to harm the hearing of 16 harbor seals and 7 gray seals, and it is anticipated to alter the behavior of 826 gray seals, 1,780 harbor seals, 4 harp seals, 5 endangered fin whales, 30 endangered humpback whales, 1 minke whale, 2 endangered North Atlantic right whales, 6,331 bottlenose dolphins, 95 common dolphins, and 11 harbor porpoises which are species of concern in NJ and NY state waters.
  • The proposed gas-fired compressor station would be in an area surrounded by forest that is very close to a Superfund Site with groundwater contamination, the NJ Buddhist Vihara & Meditation Center with many outdoor religious practices, and the active mining activity at Trap Rock Quarry where their operations could provide an ignition source for the natural gas’s methane.  Williams/Transco says that the Potential Impact Radius (PIR is an “incineration zone” in which there is a 99% chance that people and buildings in it will not survive from a natural gas explosion/fire) is 820-feet, but there have been explosions of other gas pipelines with significant damage occurring at places farther away than the reported PIRs.
  • All pipelines, according to Williams/Transco, begin to corrode immediately.  The rate of corrosion, however, would be hastened by moving more gas at increased speed through pipelines that are over 50 years old.
  • Toxic air emissions from the proposed compressor station – such as formaldehyde and benzene – exceed current regulatory requirements to protect our health, but Williams/Transco obtained their Air Pollution Permit from NJDEP before these more protective levels were in effect.  These air toxics will be emitted at a rate of 210,000 cubic feet per minute from two 50-foot smokestacks at temperatures greater than 849° Fahrenheit.  Other emissions like carbon dioxide and methane were permitted by only looking at one gas-fired turbine at a time – not at the facility with two turbines.

The best way to avoid the risks and destruction from the NESE Project is to have NY and/or NJ deny the permits which, at this time, still do not meet regulatory standards.

Your Thoughts


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