DRBC Approves LNG Port in Gibbstown
The Delaware River Basin Commission voted to approve an application for a new dredging project at the Delaware River Partners (DRP) Gibbstown Logistics Center, a multi-use deep-water seaport and international logistics center currently under development, located at River Mile 86.5 of the Delaware River in Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. The subject of the hearing is on the Delaware River Partners, LLC (NJ) Gibbstown Logistics Center Dock 2, D-2017-009-2. The vote was 5-0, including New Jersey.
“The DRBC have sided with polluters over the people of the Basin. They completely failed to have an adequate public hearing and pushed this project through. This proposal is a massive LNG port that will have major implications to the environment and public safety. New Fortress has been hiding what they have been doing. This entire process has rushed and behind closed doors. The DRBC should have tabled the vote today so that the public and the DRBC can review the project and its impacts to the Basin. Instead, the Commission rushed it through, disregarding the safety of the public,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The Murphy Administration says they are concerned about protecting the Delaware River, concerned about fracking and want to reduce GHG’s, but they just approved a disastrous LNG port in Gibbstown. This is downright shameful.”
Last week, the DRBC held a special public hearing on Delaware River Partners, LLC (NJ) Gibbstown Logistics Center Dock 2, D-2017-009-2. New Jersey Sierra Club, along with other environmental groups like Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Environment New Jersey, Clean Water Action, and more spoke in opposition of the project.
“The DRBC turned their back on the resident who will be living near the proposed LNG port. There were dozens of people who came out at the DRBC meeting today regarding the proposed LNG site,” said Tittel. “The port would sit along the river near densely populated areas. There could be many thousands of people harmed or killed by any type of spill or explosion from a truck, or tanker, or storage tank. People will be living 200 feet from the facility. The results would be catastrophic.”
LNG facilities are extremely dangerous to the nearby communities and can have wide-reaching environment consequences. Toxins from the site can leach into the ground from the underground tank. These toxins can threaten the Delaware River which provides drinking water for millions of people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Since the River is tidal, a spill or explosion could impact our drinking water supply. Sensitive ecosystems like wetlands along with endangered species like the Atlantic sturgeon could also be impacted.
“New Fortress will bring 3.5 million gallons of LNG a day to the port from truck or rail, this is equivalent to 2 billion gallons of natural gas. These numbers can be greatly expanded if New Fortress gets an export license. Transporting LNG by rail is not legal yet. These trucks will be bombs on wheels, maybe hundreds a day going to the site, traveling miles and miles in all kinds of weather, through our neighborhoods and along our highways,” said Tittel. “The potential blast zone from an explosion will threaten residents all along the way. There is also the concern that in the future it would lead to them wanting to bring in pipelines to transport more fossil fuels.”
On June 5th, The NJDEP suspended the Waterfront Development Individual Permit and 401 Water Quality Certificate issued on May 20, 2019 to Delaware River Partners, LLC for their LNG dock proposal at the DRP Gibbstown Logistics Center. The suspension was due to an error in the publication of the receipt of the March 20, 2019 application in the DEP Bulletin.
“This is a terrible project in a terrible place at a terrible time. This is an area is prone to pollution. The Repauno site is made up has already been contaminated over the years and is a Superfund Site. Any type of dredging and construction will resuspend contamination. This would also be the first export terminal approved in New Jersey. Even though DRBC acted reckless in approved the LNG port, we will continue to fight at the state and federal level. DEP can still deny its water permits and the project must be approved by the Army Corp. and FERC. We will fight each agency every step of the way. We will also ask the DRBC to reconsider. This is just the beginning of the battle, this is not the end,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.