LNG Export from Delaware River Protested
EMPOWER NJ Opposes Permitting, Vows to Fight
Trenton, New Jersey – New Fortress Energy is proposing to bring Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to New Jersey from Pennsylvania for export from the Gibbstown Logistics Center located in Gibbstown, Greenwich Township, New Jersey,DRBC acknowledged yesterday.
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held a public hearing on June 6 regarding a permit for the dredging and dock construction proposed by Delaware River Partners at the export terminal being built on the Delaware River at Gibbstown. DRBC Commissioners will consider voting on the plan at a public meeting today, June 12, at theWest Trenton Volunteer Fire Company, 40 West Upper Ferry Road, Ewing, NJ.
Organizations who are working for a clean, renewable energy future without fossil fuels attended the DRBC Hearing calling for the full disclosure and environmental and health and safety analysis of the handling of the LNG operations, which had been kept from the public. According to company filings, New Fortress Energy plans to truck and eventually rail LNG to Gibbstown where it will be loaded directly on to ships and exported overseas for sale. Read the docket here: https://www.nj.gov/drbc/library/documents/dockets/061219/2017-009-2draft.pdf
This plan, however, was not stated in DRBC’s draft docket but was added verbally at the Hearing, after Delaware Riverkeeper Network sent correspondence about the undisclosed plans, insisting the hearing should be cancelled due to the missing information. Commenters at the meeting all called for the docket to be denied or removed from the DRBC’s June 12 agenda. Many essential permits were not listed in the docket, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Coast Guard, making the application incomplete. Commenters spoke of the highly dangerous properties of LNG storage, handling and transport, the environmental harm that the dredging and new docks would inflict on the river, the need to avoid new fracked gas projects to combat climate change and the destruction that fracking inflicts on communities cradle to grave.
“It’s time for the DRBC, the US Army Corps and other involved regulatory agencies to stop putting blinders on when reviewing and approving the multitude of fracked gas projects being brought to and through the Delaware River watershed. Ignoring the LNG export goal of the project and the associated environmental, climate, safety and port impacts of the Gibbstown Logistics Center project is irresponsible and and a violation of laws like the National Environmental Policy Act. Hiding this information from the public is a betrayal of the public trust; it is agencies like the DRBC and the Army Corps prioritizing the profit goals of industry over the safety of the public and raising serious questions about why they would do that,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“This proposed, dirty, dangerous, frack LNG port is literally pouring gas on a 5 alarm fire. We’re in the middle of an existential climate crisis, Governor Murphy just yesterday released his draft plan for 100% clean energy and yet the fossil fool industry wants to blast us literally into the past. LNG is dangerously explosive and it leaks greenhouse gasses throughout its lifecycle that are 100 times more potent than CO2. Governor Murphy and DRBC can’t remove the secrecy veil, expose this dirty deal for what it is, reject this project, and get back to work creating jobs in the new, green economy fast enough,” said Amy Goldsmith, State Director, Clean Water Action.
“The LNG port is a very dangerous proposal that is igniting an explosive issue. A port along the river where combustible fuel like LNG is being transported and stored brings great danger to the region. LNG expands to 600 times its volume, spreading, then freezing. If there is a spill or a leak, there could be a massive explosion with catastrophic consequences. Many thousands of people could be harmed or killed. The blast zone would be more than 2 miles. We’re putting giant bombs in the middle of this community. The project also calls for dredging 665,000 cubic yards of sediment from a Superfund site to accommodate the deepwater berths. This would release all kinds of toxins, impacting water quality and fisheries,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The LNG project is going full steam ahead and is a disaster waiting to happen. Pressurized trucks would transport LNG to the site by the thousands. A leak from any of those trucks could instantly kill everything within 550 yards. A fireball could have a radius as large as a mile-and-a-half. The DRBC should not allow this project.”
“A massive fracked gas export terminal on the Delaware would be a disaster for clean water and a livable climate,”said Food & Water Watch organizer Jocelyn Sawyer. “Right now there are hundreds of similar projects planned around the country, most of which will drive more fracking in order to generate the raw materials to produce more plastic. We have to put a stop to this cycle of fossil fuel pollution and profiteering.”
“New Fortress Energy cannot game the system to avoid public scrutiny and get away with it. LNG export, transport and handling is fraught with danger every step of its journey and must receive the highest level of review by DRBC and other agencies, despite their reticence to even admit the threat posed to communities and the environment. We’re not going to allow the Delaware River to be sacrificed to exploitative fracked gas companies and their merchants who want to maximize their profits overseas,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“The DRBC is complicit in attempting to rubberstamp the footprint of a massive LNG export facility on the banks of the Delaware River,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “This is an underhanded move to attempt to fly under the public’s radar. LNG export facilities are climate bombs and have no place along the Delaware River. We urge the Murphy Administration to oppose this application.”
If the DRBC Commissioners, the Governors of the four states in the Watershed – NJ, PA, NY and DE – and the federal representative from the Army Corps of Engineers, approve the new docks and dredging, the number of large ships that could use the terminal would triple. Ocean-going vessels up to 966 feet long with a draft of 39.7 feet, such as those used for LNG, would be accommodated at the two new deepwater berths.
At the June 6 hearing DRBC representatives claimed they are not approving the type of cargo that will move through the terminal but critics pointed out that the DRBC is responsible for protecting the water resources of the Delaware River and this requires their comprehensive review and broad public review and input. Since the LNG aspect of the Center has been largely hidden from the public for years, with only a minor and obscure notation buried in a recent notice for an Army Corps of Engineers permit, the public has been shut out. EMPOWER NJ and organizations from throughout the region vow to fight to prevent the Gibbstown Logistics Center from allowing the Delaware River to become an LNG export port.