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Gas pipeline in Mercer, Hunterdon opposed by environmentalists

Proposed route of the PennEast Pipeline
Proposed route of the PennEast Pipeline (PennEast)

A $1 billion proposal from a Pennsylvania company to build a 30-inch wide natural gas pipeline is not sitting well with environmentalists in New Jersey.

If approved by federal regulators, the pipeline would run through parts of Mercer and Hunterdon counties.

The proposal, by PennEast Pipeline Company LLC, would carry natural gas from a distribution center north of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. through four counties there, before crossing the Delaware River and running through western Hunterdon County and into the Hopewell Valley area of Mercer County.

“The biggest concern we have is that it will be used to promote more fracking in Pennsylvania, and that would have an impact on the Delaware River and other drinking water sources because of all the toxic chemicals fracking uses,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The pipeline itself would be 100 miles long and would cut a pretty ugly scar in some environmentally-sensitive areas. You would see storm water runoff and other pollution.”

The bigger question, according to Tittel, is why does New Jersey need another pipeline?

“We have seven other pipelines being proposed or built in New Jersey right now,” Tittel said. “Yes, there is probably a need for some more natural gas. Maybe we need one or two more pipelines, but why are we now going to go up to eight?”

Proponents of the pipeline say it would lower and stabilize natural gas prices for New Jersey residents, but Tittel isn’t so sure.

“Natural gas price is based on a world market, not on a pipeline,” he said. “But the question is, why do we even need it in the first place when we have so many others?”

The New Jersey Sierra Club plans to use the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public comment process to voice its opposition to the project.

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