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:
Compressor Station 321
TGP is proposing to build an additional compressor at their pre-existing polluting facility with additional pipeline built through wetlands.
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.
Risks and Impacts
Water and Environmental Risks
Tn Gas Pipeline's Track Record
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.
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.
Spring 2022: FERC could issue the federal approval needed for this project.
Spring 2022: The NJ DEP will hold a public hearing and public comment period on this project.