JERSEY CITY - Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy announced Friday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has agreed to rehear the city's legal petition regarding the Spectra Energy's natural gas pipeline. This new hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18.
In May, FERC conditionally approved Spectra's application to build a natural gas pipeline that will cut through several cities, including Jersey City and Bayonne.
In response, Jersey City filed a 43-page appeal, officially known as a "Request for Rehearing." Among other things the city's appeal questioned the constitutionality of FERC's decisions and questioned whether the federal agency could fairly evaluate construction proposals for gas pipelines since the agency is funded entirely on fees generated by energy companies. The city's appeal argued that, since energy companies entirely fund FERC, FERC is biased toward those companies in a way that violates fundamental rights to due process.
The city's appeal cited research that found that, since 2010, FERC has approved nearly three dozen pipelines. In every case but one, the agency approved the pipeline route that the pipeline company proposed - despite the existence of dozens of other viable alternative routes.
For more than two years, Mayor Healy and the city have argued that this pipeline, which would be 30-inches in diameter with a possible pressure of 1,200 pounds per square inch, is the first of its magnitude to be built in a densely populated urban area near several transit hubs such as the Holland Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike. City officials - from engineers, to homeland security staffers, and economic development experts - have challenged Spectra's claims that the pipeline does not present a serious hazard.
The city has long argued that he pipeline should be re-routed underground and under the Hudson River.
Spectra has repeatedly opposed a Hudson River route without giving a reason for its opposition.
"The proposed route for this pipeline takes it by several schools, parks, ball fields, hospitals, critical transportation infrastructure, and dense housing within our city," Healy said. "Based on what we have seen from pipeline accidents across the country recently and in the past, including one yesterday in Nyack, New York, we know that incidents do happen, and one in Jersey City would be catastrophic."