Home > Uncategorized > Christie BPU Slated To Approve Another Pinelands Pipeline Tomorrow

Christie BPU Slated To Approve Another Pinelands Pipeline Tomorrow

Christie’s Climate Defying Fossil Policy Must Be Stopped

[UPDATE – 3/18/16 – Game on! Protesters being dragged out of BPU meeting by police

Protesters being dragged out of BPU meeting by police -Photo by David Giambussso (Twitter) (3/18/16)

Protesters being dragged out of BPU meeting by police -Photo by David Giambussso (Twitter) (3/18/16)


As the planet’s temperature just reached a “terrifying milestone” and scientific evidence mounts on the role of methane (natural gas) in warming, tomorrow the Christie Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is expected to rubber stamp approval of yet another major natural gas pipeline fossil fuel infrastructure project.

The NJ Natural Gas Co.’s “Southern Reliability Link” through the Pinelands is on BPU’s agenda – BPU will approve the pipeline AND preempt local control – extinguishing democratic rights – yet no public comment is allowed during the BPU’s hearing tomorrow:

  1. Docket No. GO15040403 – In the Matter of the Petition of New Jersey Natural Gas Company for a Determination Concerning the Southern Reliability Link Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-19 and N.J.S.A. 48:9-25.4.

It is simply insane to be approving more fossil infrastructure given the climate crisis, which demands a dramatic shift in energy infrastructure investments to renewable energy.

Scientists warn that we must leave over 80% of known fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil, & gas) in the ground to avoid exceeding climate tipping points and catastrophic warming that would threaten industrial civilization.

In addition to climate insanity, this pipeline would violate the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan and is based on fraud – the NJNG pipeline planners manufactured a false military need for the project to circumvent Pinelands CMP restrictions.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance BPU petition absolutely demolished NJNG’s alleged “resilience” justification for the need of the project:

“The undisputed facts unequivocally show that NJNG is not seeking to install its pipeline for “reliability” in case of another natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy or the Polar Vortex of 2014; it’s simply seeking to increase its profit margin. How do we know this? By simply looking at the numerous contradictions put forth by NJNG. (facts not presented here, full PPA brief provided upon request)

PPA also uncovered emails between NJNG and military officials that  reveal the fraud. PPA’s argued:

“NJNG has portrayed the pipeline as an essential source of natural gas for JB MDL. However, the attempt to construct the pipeline through the Lakehurst section of the JB was nothing more than an afterthought prompted by a more streamlined approach for approval by the Pinelands Commission. This is evident from email exchanges between a representative of NJNG and representatives from the JB. An email to a JB official from NJNG reads as follows:

Subject: Proposed Pipeline route thru the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

We met with the Pinelands Commission last week for an initial review [of] our pipeline proposal. They agreed with us that the southern route would be the best option but there were still issues with a section along Route 70 where we need to past [sic] through a section of Forest Preservation area that would make the approval process more cumbersome. They suggested that we approach you to see if we could reroute the line through your base and come out the back end of our project. They believe that this new route along with a letter from the base that the presence of the pipeline would be a positive attribute to future base activities could streamline the process. (emphasis added)

The facts show that there is no need for or demand on Joint Base for the NJNG pipeline.

Despite knowing of this NJNG fraud and despite huge public opposition, once again, Pinelands Executive Director Wittenberg went behind the back of the Commission and supported the NJNG pipeline.

The day before last Friday’s Commission meeting, without the knowledge or approval of the Commission (personal communication) or publicly disclosed during her monthly management report,  – just as she deceptively did for the South Jersey Gas pipeline – Wittenberg promoted Gov. Christie’s fossil agenda and wrote BPU in support of the pipeline (Burlington County Times):

In a letter sent Thursday from commission Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg to the BPU, she said that the staff reviewed the discovery documents, transcripts and legal briefs submitted by Chesterfield and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance to the BPU, and that their opinion of the project “remains unchanged.”

“The only new issue raised as part of the BPU process pertained to whether the proposed project was associated with the function of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,” Wittenberg said in the letter. “The application record for the proposed project aptly supports the joint base’s need for the proposed project. Thus, the application has demonstrated that the proposed gas main is a permitted use in a military and federal installation area.”

We hope that BPU will hear from the public tomorrow – we’ll keep you posted.

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