Jersey City and Bayonne homeowners will have the opportunity in March to find out more about a proposed pipeline running through their town.
That’s when Spectra Energy Corp., based in Houston, Tex., plans to hold public meetings to inform the public about a 16-mile pipeline extension through Bayonne and Jersey City. The line would allow natural gas to flow from its existing metering and regulating station in Staten Island, N.Y., through Hudson County into Manhattan.
The gas would initially come from Pennsylvania to the tri-state area, and would transport up to 800 million cubic feet per day of new natural gas supplies. It could be in service by the end of 2013.
“This project is a detriment to the city; I don’t really see the benefit.” – Steven Fulop
The public meetings, whose exact dates have not yet been determined, are part of the early process in putting down any pipeline. The meetings will help the company determine which route the pipeline will take as to not pose any problems to residents.
After a site survey is done, the pipeline project will then have to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), according to Henley.
Henley said Spectra reached out initially to Jersey City officials last spring about the project in order to get authorization to do a site study of the relevant areas in Jersey City. She said those officials were “very interested” in learning more about the project. Discussions are continuing.
But at least one city official is not interested in seeing the pipeline come to fruition anytime soon.
Piping up in opposition
Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop acknowledged recently that Spectra had reached out to him as well as several other City Council members about their project last year.
But he said he saw those talks as just “preliminary discussions” that will not materialize. He said he is very concerned about what Spectra has in mind, as he believes the pipeline will run through downtown Jersey City, which he represents on the council.
Fulop said the proposed Spectra project brings back bad memories of a pipeline explosion in his hometown of Edison in central New Jersey in 1994, when Fulop was 17 years old. That explosion, known officially as the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion and Fire, occurred in March of that year, when a natural gas pipeline broke and exploded into flames next to an apartment complex not far from Fulop’s high school.
The explosion destroyed many of the apartment buildings in the complex and caused the death of one woman.
Coincidentally, the Spectra pipeline project would be an expansion of the same Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline that runs from Texas and the Gulf Coast to the Northeast United States.
“I wrote a letter to the council and to Mayor [Jerramiah] Healy about not allowing them to do a site survey,” Fulop said. “It was for the reason that once they do the site survey, you can’t stop the process.”
Fulop said he reached out to Spectra and asked that they hold public meetings to get input before conducting the site survey. But he said a Spectra rep told him that they will do the site survey and then do the public meetings.
“This project is a detriment to the city; I don’t really see the benefit,” Fulop said.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.