UPDATE: FERC approves Spectra pipeline, with conditions
May 22, 2012 | 6557 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

JERSEY CITY AND BEYOND – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today unanimously approved, with conditions, the New Jersey-New York Project proposed by Texas-based Spectra Energy. The federal agency approved the controversial project weeks earlier than had been anticipated.

To read FERC’s full 44-page ruling, visit the agency’s eLibrary at:

http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/Files/20120521182749-CP11-56-000.pdf For more than a year FERC has been evaluating an application from Spectra Energy to build a 19.8-mile natural gas pipeline that would be routed through much of Jersey City and near sensitive infrastructure.

The City of Jersey City and a number of residents, businesses, and community organizations submitted comments to FERC last year to register their objections to the planned pipeline.

The proposed pipeline would include 19.8 miles of new and replacement pipes, six new stations, and other related modifications in Linden, Jersey City, and Bayonne. The pipeline would cross the Hudson River into New York to connect the company’s existing pipeline to Manhattan and Staten Island, supplying customers of Con Edison.

Spectra has also said that it will supply energy to power facilities operated by Bayonne Plant Holding and boilers at the International Matex Tank Terminals, also in Bayonne.

But because of the pipeline’s close proximity to sensitive areas, local activists and city officials have argued that a natural gas explosion could cause mass casualties and significantly damage important transportation infrastructure. Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has also noted that the potential hazards posed by a gas pipeline could hurt future commercial and residential development in the city.

Despite these concerns, the energy company had already received several required environmental permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, even before today’s approval by FERC.

Now that FERC has approved the proposed pipeline, the City of Jersey City others who oppose the project, including the Jersey City-based No Gas Pipeline grassroots organization, now have 30 days to request rehearing of FERC’s action, according to a statement from the agency’s press office. This is a perfunctory step and several attorneys have in the past stated that FERC will simply re-approve today’s ruling in favor of the pipeline.

This evening, moments after FERC issued its ruling, an aide to Mayor Healy reiterated the city’s intention to file a lawsuit to block construction of the pipeline. No Gas Pipeline is expected to file a separate lawsuit of its own.

Spectra meanwhile hopes to break ground on the pipeline sometime this fall. – E. Assata Wright

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