Wantage Council must reject gas compressor station

| 01 Feb 2021 | 03:16

Editor’s note: At the Jan. 28 Wantage council meeting, the New Jersey Sierra Club, the Skylands Sierra Club group, residents and other environmental groups will urge councilmembers to reject Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s proposal to modify and expand the Wantage Compressor Station in Sussex County, including installation of one Solar Titan 130 turbine with an ISO rating of 20,500 hp and auxiliary facilities. This is part of TGP’s East 300 Upgrade that also includes a new compressor station in the Highlands Region of West Milford.

Wantage Council needs to stand up for our environment and our safety by rejecting the Tennessee Gas expansion proposal. This is a dangerous and polluting project that will only cause more climate and health impacts. The compressor station will have damaging impacts to the air, water, and land on this site. A leak or accident will be detrimental to the critical drinking water and to nearby communities. Tennessee Gas already has a proven track record of causing destruction. We ask you to prevent another catastrophe from happening by stopping this unnecessary and unneeded fossil fuel project.

On June 20, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking the issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct, install, modify, operate, and maintain certain compression facilities located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration records over 100 safety incidents since 2006 for this pipeline. Greg Gorman of the New Jersey Sierra Club Conservation & Skylands Group said, “Families and home insurers aren’t thrilled knowing 60-year-old pipes designed and fabricated in a different era are now asked to move methane at substantially higher pressures by a company with less than stellar safety record.”

Just across the New York border from Wantage, the Minisink Compressor Station, which came online in 2013, has caused severe health impacts to residents including headaches, nosebleeds, rashes and gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms.

We ask the council to protect our clean air and our health! These compressor facilities release harmful air pollutants such as NOx, PM2.5, Sox, VOCs, HAPs such as formaldehyde, benzene, and GHG’s. Benzene can cause headaches, asthma attacks, and worsen symptoms for people with respiratory problems. Chromium, benzene and hydrocarbons can get into industrial stormwater runoff that will increase pollution and flooding. Blowdowns are common for these facilities and when done sound very much like a jet engine.”

Tennessee Gas Company’s 300-line project completed in November of 2011 destroyed Lake Lookover. The company was often found to not be in compliance with its own mitigation measures. There were significant erosion problems, especially in areas of steep slopes, resulting in the siltation and destruction of waterways. Since the project, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been documented on the pipeline right-of-way by the Vernon Environmental Commission. Residents along the route have complained of increased flooding and impacts to drinking water wells.

This company has a proven track record of causing destruction. They caused serious problems at Lake Lookover and Bearfort Waters. Mudslides, erosion and more covered the two lakes with mud and impacted drinking wells. We cannot give them any approvals for another compressor station. That would simply be a recipe for disaster. The NJ Sierra Club and many other residents and environmental groups have been fighting this disastrous project for years. We cannot continue to let fossil fuel companies destroy our land, our clean air, and clean water. That is why we need to fight this compressor station every step of the way.

Jeff Tittel, Director

New Jersey Sierra Club