South Jersey Gas Pipeline for B.L. England Plant
South Jersey Gas is proposing to put a natural gas pipeline through a portion of the Pinelands Forest Management Area. The proposal would place 22 miles of 24-inch pipeline through Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland Counties in order to provide the B.L. England Plant located in Beesley's Point, Cape May County with natural gas.
BREAKING NEWS: Pinelands Pipeline Projects Fails to Advance
On Friday, January 10th the full Commission voted on a resolution that would have authorized the Commission’s Executive Director, Nancy Wittenberg, to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities allowing the construction of a 22 mile, 24 inch diameter natural gas pipeline.
The final vote was tied 7-7 resulting in a stunning victory for the environment. They needed 8 votes in the affirmative in order to advance this project.
Voting in favor of the project:
Commissioners Avery (Ocean County), Brown (Cape May County), Earlen (Burlington County), Galletta (Atlantic County), McGlinchey (Camden County), Quinn (Gubenatorial Appointment) and Witt (Gloucester County).
Voting against the project:
Chair of the Pinelands Commission Mark Lohbauer (Gubenatorial Appointment), and Commissioners Ashmun (Gubenatorial Appointment) , DiBello (Federal Representative), Ficcaglia (Cumberland County), Jackson (Gubenatorial Appointment), Prickett (Gubenatorial Appointment), and Green (Gubenatorial Appointment).
- Read Chairman Lohbauer's full statement here. He makes a very strong case for his "no" vote.
- Here is a link to a video of his statement.
Abstentions: Commissioner Lloyd was forced to recuse himself from the vote. He is appealing that decision.
Audio from the January 10, 2014 Pinelands Commission meeting where they failed to pass a resolution authorizing the construction of the natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands.
Here is a link the full list of Pinelands Commissioners.
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance thanks everyone who took action by writing letters, coming to meetings, testifying in public and spreading the word. This is your victory!
Read transcripts and comments from the public hearing - to view click here. To read a copy of the Executive Director's report click here.
PPA submitted comments to the Pinelands Commission on December 13, 2013. Click here to read!
A copy of the draft MOA is located on the Pinelands Commission's web site at click here.
[+ ZOOM] BL England Plant picture taken by Fred Akers, GEHWA
The proposed route through the Pinelands Forest Management Area violates the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP). The CMP permits such public service infrastructure in the Forest Management Area only when it is "intended to primarily serve the needs of the Pinelands." N.J.A.C. 7:50-5.23. There is no exception for pipes run along or under roads.
The B.L. England plant primarily serves electricity demand outside the Pinelands, where the great majority of the residences and businesses in the region are located.
The public service infrastructure restriction was placed in the CMP for good reason. If the rules can simply be ignored whenever a utility company wants to do something that violates the rule, then the credibility and permanence of the CMP is damaged.
The Pinelands Commission must defend the integrity of the Pinelands or risk larger, cumulative harms in the future. The Pinelands was created in part in response to plans to construct off-shore drilling platforms and run transportation pipes across the Pinelands to refineries on the Delaware. The drilling did not happen forty years ago, but it may happen in the future. Similarly, proposals for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals along the Jersey shore continue to be pressed, raising the possibility that pipes would be proposed across the Pinelands to transport LNG.
[+ ZOOM] B.L. England along Great Egg Harbor River picture taken by Fred Akers, GEHWA
There are alternatives to the proposed pipeline route. Even if one assumes it is necessary to bring natural gas to the B.L. England plant, there is no necessity to run the pipeline through the Pinelands Forest Management Area. There are power plants directly to the north in Atlantic County, so it should be possible to run the supply pipeline outside the Pinelands Area or, at least, in the right of way of the Garden State Parkway, where it will not impinge on the interior forests of the Pinelands.
Read our Pinelands Watch, Issue #66 on the gas pipeline!
To View Pinelands Commission presentation on the South Jersey Gas Pinelands presented at the August 28, 2013 CMP Policy and Implementation meeting click here.
Current News coverage:
Documents pertaining to pipeline application in Pinelands Commission file:
Documents pertaining to pipeline application in Board of Public Utilities file:
Documents pertaining to DEP: