Progressive Dems Applaud Middlesex Co Freeholders for Responding to Constituent Concerns, Intervening in Transco Pipeline

New Brunswick, NJ — After news reports today that the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders has responded vocal opposition from area residents over the Williams Transcontinental (Transco) Pipeline and announced their intention to intervene in the matter, CJPD candidates thanked them for listening to constituents who had urged this action at last week’s meeting, including CJPD LD-17 candidate Heather M. Fenyk, of New Brunswick.  On the issue of the pipeline, Fenyk and CJPD Freeholders Atif Nazir and Catherine Hunt released the following statement:

“Central Jersey Progressive Democrats (CJPD) are united in opposition to the pipeline proposal to build 26 miles of fracked gas pipeline from the Marcellus Shale region through our Central New Jersey communities and under Raritan Bay to New York. We are likewise united in our opposition to Williams Transcontinental’s proposals for new gas compressor stations in our communities,” said Fenyk, who testified at last week’s Freeholder meeting where the Board declined to act.

“The Transco Pipeline proposals pose significant risks to our Central New Jersey communities. These projects will solely benefit New York City markets, yet our New Jersey communities would bear significant public health and economic risks – including increased rates of leukemia, lymphomas, respiratory disorders and other diseases – while receiving little or no benefits. We must not expose our local communities to a high-risk proposition with little to no reward.

“The Transco Pipeline proposals will harm our environment and the habitat of our Raritan Watershed and Raritan Bay. The building of pipeline infrastructure and the transport of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region to New York will fragment our natural habitat, and disrupt commercial and recreational marine activities for residents and visitors. Our communities are working hard to restore landscapes destroyed by decades of industrial dumping and toxic pollution, let’s not reverse this positive trend.

“The Transco Pipeline proposals are unnecessary. The Transco Pipeline would be a redundant expansion of industrial natural gas infrastructure through our Middlesex County, Somerset County and Bayshore communities. CJPD recognizes that aging rail, bridge and other infrastructure that currently accommodates fuel transport poses risks that could lead to devastating spills in our waterways. This serious concern that can be addressed by two-pronged strategy: significant investment in the repair and maintenance of our existing infrastructure, and shifting investments to safe, clean renewable energy,” said Fenyk, of New Brunswick.

Freeholder candidate Atif Nazir agreed, noting “The Transco Pipeline proposals are not what our communities want. The overwhelmingly negative feedback on the project during community meetings has made it clear that this project does not have the support of community residents.

CJPD believes that New Jersey should be a leader in clean energy jobs and in the development of the infrastructure of the future. Such leadership will require prioritizing investments in innovation that will lead to renewable safe energy production in the state, and a commitment to discontinue expanding infrastructure for fossil fuels,” Nazir, a resident of Piscataway, said.

“CJPD thanks the Middlesex County Freeholders for responding to our concerns by agreeing register to intervene on this issue as part of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearings,” said Catherine Hunt, of Monroe.

“However, more must be done. We urge Middlesex County Freeholders and other current elected officials to pass resolutions opposing installation of the Transco Pipeline and compressors, and to push FERC to reject the current permit application for construction of this project.   We are glad the Freeholders responded to public pressure. They and other elected officials need to do more to stop the pipeline and protect our environment, ” Hunt said.

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