Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Watson Coleman Declares Opposition to Proposed PennEast Pipeline in Letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Watson Coleman cites permanent detrimental impact on critical forest and water resources in her opposition to project affecting Hunterdon & Mercer counties 

(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) has sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission maintaining her opposition to a pipeline project proposed by the PennEast Pipeline Company that would run through Hunterdon County to Mercer County, and has many concerned about the impact on the area’s ecosystems and natural resources.

PennEast wants to build a 105-mile long, $1 billion pipeline to transport natural gas from Luzerne County, Pa., to Mercer County, N.J. The pipeline would pass through Hunterdon County, cutting through the townships of Holland, Alexandria, Kingwood, Delaware and West Amwell.

In the letter sent to the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Cheryl A. LaFleur, Watson Coleman stated that the pipeline would “adversely and permanently affect critical forest and water resources that provide essential habitat and other natural resource services to my constituents and to the economy and environment of the entire state of New Jersey.”

 “As currently proposed, the project will disrupt, fragment, or otherwise impair forests, farmland, wetlands, streams, and other valuable resources on private and public lands along its 105-mile path,” wrote Watson Coleman. “Many of these lands were acquired or protected at taxpayer expense with the legal requirement that they be permanently protected. Indeed, the proposed pipeline appears cynically routed to maximize the use of these sensitive public trust resources, ostensibly to reduce the cost and opposition inherent in routing through privately held or already developed areas.”

“This proposal is especially noxious because it disregards the availability of alternate routes using existing utility rights-of-way and disregards the cumulative impact of multiple other pipeline projects proposed or under construction across New Jersey, projects that make this new pipeline through mostly undisturbed natural and agricultural areas completely unnecessary,” wrote Watson Coleman.