New Jersey Natural Gas has started construction on their Southern Reliability Link pipeline in Monmouth County. The pipeline is being installed on Province Line Road off of route 537 which is now closed to traffic. NJNG have put plastic fencing to protect the 300 year-old cemetery across the street on Arneytown-Hornerstown Road.
“NJNG is starting construction again in Monmouth County near New Egypt on the SRL pipeline. They are now heading into Burlington County despite the fact that we are still in court with them. They are taking open space and a historic cemetery for an unnecessary pipeline. The NJ Sierra Club is filing a response to briefs to the state and NJNG. Our concern is that we won’t have an oral argument until June or maybe even October. By the time the case is decided that the pipeline cannot be built, a majority of it will be in the ground. This pipeline will cause irreparable harm to the environment and become an economic burden to taxpayers who will have to pay to remove it. NJNG is heading towards Burlington County and it is critical that the Burlington Freeholders commit to blocking this pipeline,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
NJNG’s Southern Reliability Link will have to get approval from Burlington County for permits. The Burlington County Freeholders have the power and the justification to deny road occupancy permits for NJNG’s planned use of county roads for the pipeline. Groups are asking the Freeholder to deny NJNG’s permit to build along its county roads.
“This is a dastardly deed by NJNG. They aren’t just proceeding at their own risk; they’re risking the environment and public safety, and ratepayer’s money. That is why the Burlington County Freeholders must protect their community! NJNG is completely ignoring the rules and the role of the legal system and going ahead with their unnecessary pipeline. There will be irreparable harm by allowing for construction, digging up people’s lawn, and putting a blowtorch within feet of homes. NJNG is already cutting streets off in Monmouth and Ocean County and people cannot get to their homes. They are risking public safety by blocking traffic which is especially difficult for emergency vehicles. Burlington Freeholders need to step up and protect their residents by rejecting NJNG, they need to stop this pipeline so that we have our day in court,” said Tittel.
The proposed Southern Reliability Link (SRL) pipeline would connect to a compressor station in Chesterfield and run 28 miles of pipe through Burlington, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties. The line would threaten ecosystems, communities, and drinking water in the Pinelands. This pipeline clearly violates the Pinelands rules because this type of infrastructure is only allowed through the Pinelands Forest Preservation Area, if it primarily serves the Pinelands, but it does not.
“The SRL would be detrimental to the Pinelands is the largest open space on the eastern seaboard and recognized for its biodiversity by the United Nations. It is also the country’s first National Reserve and holds 17 trillion gallons of water in its aquifer. We have been trying to get a stay on the SRL but that has fell on deaf ears. The New Jersey Attorney General said he represents the agencies such as the Pinelands and the BPU, but they are in support of the pipeline. This is no longer Chris Christie’s pipeline, this is Phil Murphy’s pipeline. That is why we are asking the Burlington County Freeholders to protect the Pinelands and deny NJNG’s SRL pipeline,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “If Governor Murphy is committed to reducing GHG’s and clean energy, why is he letting NJNG come through his own county for a destructive fossil fuel pipeline. That’s why a moratorium is so important. There is no need for the SRL pipeline other than to promote fracking and the burning of fossil fuels that impact clean water and promote climate change.”