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Opponents call to reject Pinelands pipeline

Published by
World Pipelines,

A proposed gas pipeline through the Pinelands is an over-priced, oversized, ineffective answer to a problem that does not exist, according to ReThink Energy NJ.

"With the undeniable evidence against this pipeline boondoggle, the Pinelands Commission should withhold approval and the BPU must reconsider its faulty approval of the pipeline," said Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

The so-called Southern Reliability Link (SRL), approved by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and under review by the Pinelands Commission, would cost more than US$180 million and run through a 30 mile stretch of the Pinelands National Reserve, one of the nation's most fragile environments.

An analysis by energy markets consulting firm, Skipping Stone, commissioned by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, found that the BPU misunderstood the realities of how the gas supply system in this region functions when it approved SRL and failed to require New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) to conduct rigorous analyses of the system to justify the pipeline.

BPU's approval of the pipeline hinges on the claim that the company needs to respond to a hypothetical "single point of failure" disruption in service along the Texas Eastern Transmission Company (TETCO) pipeline that NJNG relies on to supply its customers. Skipping Stone's analysis revealed that BPU failed to recognise that, because the TETCO line runs bidirectionally, adequate backup already exists and that even a massive failure in either direction along the mainline would not cut off supply to NJNG.

The Skipping Stone analysis further found that the only significant gas supply failure scenario that could occur was not considered by BPU, but can be solved by a 100% effective and vastly less expensive fix far from the protected Pinelands area. The BPU should consider this alternative approach instead, the report says. Skipping Stone estimates the cost of the alternative to be between US$26 million and US$28 million.

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