ENVIRONMENT

Essex County officials protest Williams Transco compressor station expansion

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

A group of elected officials, environmental leaders, and concerned residents held a news conference to protest the Williams Transco Gateway Expansion project.

The energy infrastructure company built a compressor station in Roseland in 2013. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently approved two freshwater wetland permits that would allow the company to expand.

Environmentalists say they’re concerned about increased flooding and public safety risks and that’s why they’re asking the New Jersey DEP to overturn the permits.

An appeal has been filed at the federal and state level.

“We’re here also to call on the governor that he should step in and stop this project and put a moratorium in place until New Jersey does a better job in regulating pipelines and power plants and fossil fuels. We’ll never get to 100 percent renewable if we keep building compressor stations like this,” said New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel.

“Why invest in the expansion and not in replacing the 60-year-old pipeline that is deteriorating rapidly rather than doubling the horsepower of this site. It’s simple, as the county executive stated in August at the DEP hearing, it’s about money,” said Roseland Mayor James Spango.

Williams said in a statement that they, “… have worked hard to design this project in such a way that it will have virtually zero impact on surrounding neighbors and the environment …” and “… the comprehensive environmental assessment recently issued by the federal energy regulatory commission positively reflects our efforts to design this project in an environmentally responsible manner.”