New Jersey Blocks the Williams Pipeline!

New Jersey has denied several key permits for the Williams pipeline, also known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, or NESE, blocking the pipeline from being built in New Jersey. This denial comes weeks after New York State denied the pipeline a required water quality permit, blocking the pipeline in New York.

Governor Murphy announces his support for a fracking ban in the Delaware River Basin in 2018.

The Williams pipeline would have transported fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey, crossing through New York-New Jersey Harbor and Raritan Bay, finally ending in the Rockaways in New York City. The New Jersey portion of the project included a compressor station in Franklin Township, as well as two smaller pipelines in addition to the main pipeline proposed to cross into New York. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) denied several key permits for the project tonight, citing its dangerous impacts to New Jersey’s wetlands, waterways, and vegetation—but this fight is far from being over.

The Williams pipeline would have been a dangerous project for many reasons.

First, it would perpetuate our dependence on the dirty fossil fuels, which threaten our communities and climate, instead of helping us move to a clean energy future.

Second, construction of the pipeline would pollute some of our most important bodies of water, injuring the diverse aquatic species that call New York-New Jersey Harbor home. In its decision, NJDEP noted (and Williams has previously admitted) that construction of the pipeline would kick up sediment that contains toxic contaminants—like arsenic, mercury, and PCBs—at levels that would exceed New Jersey limits for these dangerous contaminants. Additionally, the construction of the compressor station would have ripped up freshwater wetlands and injured woodland species, including the Barred Owl. NRDC’s comments on the water quality impacts of the pipeline can be found here.

Williams can still re-apply for these permits, as they already have in New York. And both New York and New Jersey could still approve the pipeline at a later date. But this is another blow for a pipeline that has been the target of community and grassroots opposition for years.  

There is simply no excuse for approving this reckless project. Every step required to construct the Williams pipeline has the potential to jeopardize New Jersey’s wetlands and waterbodies and will only perpetuate the region’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels. Along with our allies, we’ll use every tool in the kit to stop this dangerous pipeline from ever being built.

Thank New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for protecting our waters and rejecting the permits for this dangerous project!

About the Authors

Kimberly Ong

Senior Attorney, NY Regional, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

Rob Friedman

Policy Advocate, Environmental Justice, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

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