NJ Natural Gas Southern Reliability Link Pipeline
New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) has received approval from the NJ Board of Public Utilities and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to build a 28-mile long, 30-inch diameter natural gas pipeline across the state from Chesterfield in Burlington County to Manchester Township in Ocean County. NJNG has provided various rationales for this new pipeline, including obtaining access to a second supplier for its network, reaching new customers in Ocean County, and providing a redundant source of gas to the Joint Base. The pipeline still requires approvals from the Pinelands Commission and the Joint Base.
The proposed route passes through Chesterfield, North Hanover, Upper Freehold and Plumsted before reaching Route 539, where it turns south and enters the Pinelands and travels through the Joint Base. Before leaving the Base, the route then turns east near the southern boundary of the Base, enters the Borough of Lakehurst and ends in Manchester.
The Pinelands Commission set out the procedure to review this application. The process involved a public comment meeting on Wednesday, July 26, at 9:30am at the Pine Belt Arena, 1245 Old Freehold Road, Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753. See the resolution here:
Public comment closed at 5pm, August 2, 2017. See PPA's comments and an expert report on the lack of need for the pipeline here:
See the Commission's news release on the review process here
The United States Air Force at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst must approve the easement for NJNG to build the pipeline. The draft Environmental Assessment is available for review here. Public comment has now closed. Read PPA's cover letter and comments below.
The route through the Joint Base is immediately adjacent to the Preservation Area, which is supposed to get the highest level of protection as established by the Pinelands Protection Act.
[+ ZOOM] NJ Natural Gas switching station located on Route 70, Lakehurst, Ocean County. ©PPA
This pipeline is generating a great deal of opposition from residents and their representatives in the towns outside the Pinelands, in large part because the route passes through residential areas.
PPA’s main concerns are whether the pipeline complies with the Pinelands rules and the impact that construction and maintenance will have on rare species populations and Pine Barrens habitats along its route. The Pinelands CMP states that development on the Joint Base must “serve the function of the Federal installation” and “where feasible” avoid the Preservation Area.
The Process for Approval:
New Jesey Natural Gas (NJNG) must get approval for construction of the Southern Reliability Link (SRL) from the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) as well as from other state regulatory agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pinelands Commission. NJNG must also get approval from the United States Air Force since they have to grant an easement for the pipeline to run through Joint Base property.
Where do things stand?
NJNG has approval from the DEP and BPU for the pipeline.
Litigation over the BPU orders by PPA, Chesterfield, Bordentown, North Hanover, and other groups is ongoing. To view the BPU Decision and Order, on Docket No. GO15040403, March 18, 2016, Click here!
Additionally, NJNG needs to obtain approval from the Pinelands Commission and the U.S. Air Force. Public comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment has closed.
There is another complication.
The SRL is part of another big pipeline project – the Garden State Expansion Project and the PennEast pipeline project. Both of these are interstate pipelines and require Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval. Without the approval of these projects there can be no SRL.
What PPA is doing:
PPA has retained legal representation and filed briefs with the Board of Public Utilities and Pinelands Commission to stop this illegal project. Our staff is also working with the many townships and community groups that are opposed to the SRL project.
To view the legal documents asscociated with the ongoing appeals. Click here!
Documents submitted to agencies relating to the gasline project:
NJNG - April 2015 - 2.5MB
Southern Reliability Link Project Alternatives Analysis - Part 1
NJNG - April 2015 - 2.8MB
Southern Reliability Link Project Alternatives Analysis - Part 2
The proposed route for the NJ Natural Gas pipeline is shown below:
Petitions submitted in opposition of the pipeline project:
Resolutions passed by governing bodies against the pipeline project: