This "East 300 Upgrade" is not routine maintence, but a major fossil fuel expansion project that brings serious risks and impacts to NJ and PA communities.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company is proposing to build new or additional compressors at three sites along their pipeline system which runs from Pennsylvania across Northern NJ in Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen County, all to pipe higher volumes of gas at greater pressure to New York. All of the gas is going to Westchester County, NY - despite NY's clean energy goals - at the risk of NJ and PA residents!

What Are Gas Compressors?

Gas compressor stations, also known as "pumping stations" assist in keeping gas moving through pipelines, from the site of extraction to its end users. Friction and turbulence naturally slow the movement of the gas through the pipeline, so every 40-100 miles, the gas needs a boost to keep it moving. The compressor station gives it this "boost" by literally compressing the gas, that is, reducing the volume of the gas, in order to increase its pressure. The compressor station is an engine, whose motor is fueled by either natural gas from the pipeline or by electricity.

In this project, the East 300 Upgrade, the pipeline moves fracked gas from Pennsylvania, through Northern NJ, to users in New York state.

More About the Project:

Susquehanna, PA

Compressor Station 321

TGP is proposing to build an additional compressor at their pre-existing polluting facility with additional pipeline built through wetlands.

Wantage, NJ

Compressor Station 325

TGP is proposing to add an additional gas driven compressor at their existing polluting facility off of Libertyville Road, more than tripling the size of the station, near to dozens of homes and farms.

Compressor Station 327

TGP is proposing to build a new compressor station at a site off of Burnt Meadow Road, next to Hewitt Brook, and 1,200 ft from the Monksville Reservoir which supplies clean drinking water to millions of NJ residents.

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Risks and Impacts

Health Risks

  • Compressors have been known to release so much harmful air pollution that they can cause coughing, nosebleeds, dizziness, rashes, and nausea, and long-term exposure can cause asthma, neurological conditions, and more. Benzene, a compound found in natural gas, is associated with childhood leukemia. This project is not safe for our community. There are documented cases across the country of residents becoming sick when compressor stations move into their neighborhoods.

  • A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates compressor stations release substantial volumes of hazardous air pollutants from fugitive emissions and blowdowns that increase risk of sickness and death. The World Health Organization recently stated that there are 4.2 million deaths every year as a result of exposure to ambient outdoor air pollution, most comes from combustion of fossil fuels, including natural gas. The EPA found that in a 6-year period, 18 compressor stations in NY released 36.99 million pounds of 70 different air pollutants including 39 chemicals known to cause cancer in humans (1). A recent study looking specifically at death rates of those who live near compressor stations found that the volatile organic compounds emitted were associated with significantly higher death rates (2).

  • The particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde emitted increase risk of a number of human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, central nervous system dysfunction, birth defects, preterm birth, poor birth outcomes as well as premature death (1, 2, 4, 9). Compressor stations risk exposure to toxic radioactive elements from the fracked gas including radon, polonium and lead which are proven to cause cancer, decreased lung function, increase blood pressure, and inflammation (3). Compressor stations are proven to exceed federal standards for air pollution from formaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide, benzene and other volatiles as much as 10,000-fold (1). Infants and children are most likely to be harmed due to their greater biologic vulnerability and their long future lifetime in which disease can manifest in both childhood and adulthood (4). Benzene causes childhood leukemia. The medical literature suggests there are no safe levels of exposure to benzene (5). Even low levels of air pollution increase risk of hospitalization for heart disease and respiratory disease, cancer and death (1). Studies also show air pollution may be contributing to the rise in neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s (6,7,8).

  • These compressor stations would increase the pressure of North NJ's 65-year-old pipelines (average useful lifespan is 50 years), putting countless neighborhoods at risk of dangerous gas leaks and explosions. In addition to the radioactive compounds in the fracked gas, older pipelines are also lined with asbestos. Leaks or explosions would create lasting damage to the environment and the health of families for generations to come. The West Milford compressor has the potential to pollute drinking water for over 3.5 million NJ residents due to the location near Highlands Preserve right next to a C1 stream and above the Wanaque and Monksville reservoirs as well as near underground aquifers. The impacts of the air pollution generated from this project are also far reaching. The chemicals emitted from the compressor stations will impact our region in the form of ground level ozone, which negatively impacts respiratory and heart health (9). These compressor stations will also release substantial greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, which threatens us all (1).

  • Click HERE to read more and view references.

Safety Risks

  • The three new compressor stations would mean higher volumes of gas would be pumped at a greater pressure through a pipeline system, parts of which are now 65 years old, and would increase the risks of leaks and even explosions along the pipeline route through densely populated residential areas and under the Monksville Reservoir. Many portions of the pipeline system are over fifteen years beyond the useful lifespan of steel pipelines. If this project is approved we can expect TGP to dig up our communities again in the near future to replace these aging pipes.

  • TGP company is proposing to have this facility monitored remotely from Texas, with only one worker on-site during daytime hours. Local first responders are not trained to deal with these sorts of disasters which could easily turn into a massive forest fire in these heavily wooded regions. Burnt Meadow Road only goes one-way. There is also no evacuation plan in place for residents living near these compressors, or for campers at the camp located right near the compressor station. In the event of a catastrophic leak, fire, or explosion, TGP has no plan to respond.

Water and Environmental Risks

  • This proposed project is near two protected reservoirs, protected wetlands, and Category One Exceptional Value Streams. The Monksville Reservoir is located 2000 feet west of the new compressor. The construction and ongoing operation of this proposed industrial facility can lead to groundwater pollution from Chromium, Benzene, and other toxic hydrocarbons. 3.5 million NJ residents source their drinking water from the Monksville - Wanaque reservoir system. Tennessee Gas Pipeline cannot ensure that their construction and operation of a compressor station right next to the reservoir won’t harm this critical resource.

  • Over 10 percent of the New Jersey Highlands, about 110,000 acres, is in agriculture, with some of the most productive soils in the world. The Highlands also harbors important populations of birds, bats and provides a regional stronghold for several rare reptiles and amphibians; several dozen of which are classified as endangered. The combined portions of the Highlands contain more than 311,000 acres of public parklands with over 14 million visitors per year. The beauty and relatively clean air and water encourage these visitors to travel to West Milford and spend thousands of dollars in local establishments. How can we trust that the compressor station and increased gas compression in this pipeline system, and the noise, pollution, and smell that will come with it won’t negatively impact tourism, agriculture, and the local economy in this region?

  • During operation, natural gas being pumped through pipelines can reach temperatures of up to 125 degrees. These pipelines run through fragile wetlands ecosystems and can cause them to dry up. If the amount and pressure of gas in these pipelines increase it may affect the temperatures of the pipelines and bring harm to the ecosystems and the creatures and plants that live in these areas.

Tn Gas Pipeline's Track Record

  • In the last decade, Tennessee Gas Pipeline caused substantial damage to our community when constructing the 300 line project. There was significant damage to Lake Lookover in Hewitt and Bearfort Waters in West Milford which included siltation and destruction of waterways through mudslides which increased flooding and impacted drinking water wells. To make matters worse, TGP was required to replant trees that were clearcut, and only 200 out of 2,500 were planted according to the DEP. And of those were not of proper height and thickness, and not a single tree was planted of the 1,440 required on Hamburg Mountain, Vernon. With this track record, we cannot trust that TGP will not severely damage our communities and that they will repair the damage if they do.

  • According to Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration failure reports, from 2006 to 2017 Tennessee Gas Pipeline had 111 significant incidents with their pipelines, resulting in $89,815,380 in property damage and 19 federal enforcement action. With this track record, we can’t trust TGP to safely build and operate a new compressor station in our communities?

Permitting Process

Before TGP can begin construction, they must be issued both federal and state level permits.

Federal: Projects like the one TGP has proposed require approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC. For this project to be approved federally, FERC must issue a "Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity". Before that can happen FERC will determine whether to do an Environmental Assessment (EA) or a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). -- In this case FERC originally only planned to do an EA, but due to the many public comments on the EA they followed it up with an EIS. -- From the findings in the EIS the commisssion will decide whether or not to issue the "Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity" which would approve the project at the federal level.

NJ State Permits: Before TGP can begin construction they must be issued a number of state permits from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The two most comprehensive permits are a Highlands Act Exemption for the West Milford Compressor and a Title V Air Permit for the Wantage Compressor. Governor Murphy can and must direct the NJ DEP to reject both of these permits to protect the health and safety of NJ residents.

West Milford Compressor 327: The Highlands Act was passed to protect NJ's ecologically sensitive Highlands region from development and commercial exploitation and regulates building activities. This act should prevent a fossil fuel expansion project from being constructed in this region. However last June the NJ DEP issued TGP an exemption from the Highlands Act as "routine maintence or upgrades." This project is neither maintence or an upgrade but a massive fossil fuel expansion project. Read more in this article.

Wantage Compressor 325: TGP must be issued a Title V Air Permit for their fracked gas compressor expansion proposed in Wantage. We expect a draft permit to be published in the Spring of 2022 which will be followed by a public comment period and public hearing. This will be an all hands on deck moment for our moment to submit comments and provide testimony in oppsiting to this dangerous proposal.

Project Timeline

  • June 2020: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), a Kinder Morgan company, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity

  • February 2021: FERC published its Environmental Assessment (EA) for the East 300 Upgrade Project.

  • March 2021: NJ DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) issued Land Use permit for Wantage Compressor site NJDEP Bulletin (pg203)

  • May 2021: FERC announces their intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project. The EIS is a more comprehensive review than the EA.

  • June 2021: The NJ DEP issues an exemption from the NJ Highlands Act for the West Milford Compressor. The DEP rules that the compressor qualifies for Highlands Act Exemption 11 for routine maintence and upgrades, despite this not being an upgrade, but a massive expansion of fossil fuel infrastructire.

  • July 2021: FERC releases their draft EIS. The open public comment period goes until August 23, 2021.

  • August 2021: Public comment period on EIS closes.

  • April 2022: FERC issued the federal approval needed for this project.

  • August 2022: The NJ DEP will held a public hearing and public comment period on this project.

  • FALL 2022: The FINAL PERMIT is pending. We need all hands on deck to call on Governor Murphy to stop this project!

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