On Tuesday, Chevron submitted a motion for abeyance to the Federal Energy Regulatort Commission (FERC) to delay the Spectra pipeline project. Chevron is concerned with the impacts of the pipeline as it crosses a property they are working on redeveloping. Specifically, Chevron wants more information on the potential release of benzene, a known carcinogen, into the Kill Van Kull.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has also raised concerns about the Chevron site to FERC. Chevron wants to clean up and redevelop the site to productive uses and the pipeline project undermines that economic development goal both on the site and along the gold coast.
This project is so bad even Chevron doesn’t want the pipeline to cut through their property due to environmental damage. This pipeline is going through one of the most densely populated areas of country and an area with many contaminated sites causing everything from chromium to benzene to be released into the environment. This is probably the first time Sierra Club and Chevron are on same side. This project is so bad that even Chevron does not want it through its property. Even on contaminated property this is going to do environmental damage.
FERC is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on the project which is expected to be completed on Friday. The project has already received permits from the DEP for construction. The Spectra pipeline will go through Linden, Bayonne, Jersey City and off the shore of Hoboken into New York City. The proposed route goes through some of the most heavily industrialized and densely populated areas, putting people in this region at risk. This area is already burdened with excessive pollution adding more pollution will greatly affect the public health and the environment of this community.
This is a speculative pipeline and alternative routes need to be provided to move the pipeline away from densely populated areas and contaminated sites. New Jersey and the region have reduced the need for natural gas due to weatherization and energy efficiency programs, making this pipeline even more unnecessary.
Not only is this pipeline not needed but we are concerned that the water and air pollution from it and the toxins being released during construction will further put people at risk in these communities. Instead of gas pipelines, we should be investing in renewable energy and green jobs for the people of New Jersey.
Jeff Tittel is the Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club.