Monmouth County freeholders oppose Raritan Bay pipeline

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has passed a resolution stating its opposing to the proposed Williams Transco/Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Raritan Bay pipeline.

The county’s governing body took the action during its meeting on April 18.

According to the resolution, Williams Transco is proposing the NESE project to build a 23.4-mile methane natural gas pipeline through Raritan Bay and Lower New York Bay, from Old Bridge, Middlesex County, to Rockaway, N.Y.

The purpose of the project is to transport 400 million cubic feet of methane natural gas by the process of hydraulic fracturing, from the Marcellus Shale to New York.

The Marcellus Shale runs through parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

The freeholders said the pipeline project “will be destructive to the environment and will in no way serve the interests of New Jersey, Monmouth County or its residents, and will only supply methane natural gas to Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, N.Y.”

The resolution states in part that the NESE pipeline “will have severe negative impacts to the Raritan and Lower New York bays, such as disturbing roughly 14,165 acres of the seabed of the Raritan Bay, discharging 690,000 gallons of drilling fluid and chemicals into the bay, re-suspending over 1 million tons of toxic contaminants … and destroying over 1,000 acres of benthic habitat (the bottom of the bay) that houses marine fish, shellfish and larva.”

The freeholders said the project “poses serious environmental concerns related to environmental harm to marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as negative impacts to the safety, health and well-being of Bayshore coastal communities …”

In addition, the freeholders said the pipeline “will adversely impact industries important to the New Jersey Bayshore communities, disturb commercial and recreational fishing and shell fishing activities, and potentially damage the tourism industry.”

In passing the resolution, the freeholders urged Williams Transco “to eliminate any further consideration for a pipeline” and they asked the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection “to deny any permit application for the project …”