Sierra Club: Again, NESE Withdraws Permits- DEP Should Have Rejected It
On Wednesday 11/27 Williams Transco withdrew their application for a Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit, Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit, Waterfront In-Water Individual Permit, Waterfront Upland Individual Permit, Coastal Wetlands Individual Permit, and a Water Quality Certificate and Coastal Zone Consistency Determination. In the letter, the DEP advised Transco that it must resolve deficiencies including compelling public need and an alternative access road for the Compressor Station.
“Once again, Transco is trying to game the system for their own benefit. Transco knows their NESE project does not meet DEP permit requirements and so they pulled their application at the last minute. Transco is using time now as a way of fixing their application. Instead of giving them more time, DEP should have kicked out permits for being deficient, instead they allowed Transco to come back without prejudice. The DEP should have rejected them but they do state in the letter that Transco must resolved certain deficiencies regarding public need and access to the compressor station before they can come back,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Transco’s NESE proposal is the Dracula Project, it just keeps on coming back. That is why the DEP should reject this unneeded and unnecessary fossil fuel project with prejudice.”
The NJ DEP extended the deadline to decide whether or not to grant the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE) permits for their pipeline that would go through the Raritan Bay into New York on Friday, October 25.
“DEP have already given NESE an extension for their application, why have they allowed Transco more time? The DEP should be called the Department of Eventual Permits because they letting Transco come back. DEP should not allow them to play these games. enough is enough. NESE has was rejected DEP because the project could not meet the Surface Water Quality Standards. We believe they cannot meet those standards again. The gas companies get the money, New York gets the gas, and we get the pipe. Denying the permits again will protect the public health and safety, and the environment,” said Tittel.
Besides missing NJDEP permits, Transco still needs permits from New York. There has been major opposition from towns in Monmouth and Middlesex County on the NESE project. A coalition of groups, including the NJ Sierra Club have also been able to generate over 10,000 signatures asking DEP to deny Transco’s pipeline and compressor station.
“Transco is manipulating the system to get around opposition. They think that by withdrawing their permits and coming back later will lessen the public opposition against their project. But that will not happen. We are going to continue fighting to stop these permits by using all of the tools available. Transco is taking advantage of the DEP’s permit process and this needs to end now. No more games. If Governor Murphy wants to reduce GHG’s and move to a green economy he cannot be giving away permits to these pipelines. Otherwise all his talk on climate change is hot air. If Murphy cares about our clean air and water, he needs to step in and put a moratorium on fossil fuel projects and shut NESE down,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.