NJ DEP rejects land use permit applications for pipeline

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection rejected three land use permit applications for Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.’s (Transco) proposed interstate natural gas pipeline across the state on June 5. It also kept the door open for the Williams Cos. subsidiary to reapply for the permits.

Jun 6th, 2019

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection rejected three land use permit applications for Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.’s (Transco) proposed interstate natural gas pipeline across the state on June 5. It also kept the door open for the Williams Cos. subsidiary to reapply for the permits.

The decision affected three New Jersey components of the project: a compressor station in Franklin Township, a pipeline in Sayreville and Old Bridge (the Madison loop), and a pipeline in state waters of the Raritan Bay (the Raritan Loop).

“DEP has determined that Transco’s existing application has not fully demonstrated that there is no practicable alternative to the proposed construction of and access to the proposed compressor station. Alternatives that further avoid or minimize impacts to freshwater wetlands and riparian areas may be available and require further analysis,” the agency said.

It added that Transco did not demonstrate fully a compelling public need as defined by the applicable regulations or, alternatively, the existence of an extraordinary hardship that warrants permitting the compressor station as presently proposed.

“With respect to the Raritan Loop, the information presently available to DEP indicates that the proposed dredging could adversely impact surface water quality within New Jersey waters of the Raritan Bay. Transco has not fully demonstrated how it would avoid or minimize adverse impacts to surface water quality,” DEP said.

The agency noted that any future resubmission by Transco “must include a modeling analysis that demonstrates how the use of mitigating measures would avoid or minimize potential impacts and ensure compliance with surface water quality standards.”

A resubmission of the permit requests would be subject to public comment and carry regulatory review timelines attendant to any such new application before the DEP, the agency said.

The agency’s decision followed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s May 15 rejection of state certification for the project within the Empire State under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

“We are currently assessing the discrete technical issues raised by the New Jersey DEP related to our application for water quality certification,” Williams said. “We believe that we can be responsive to the issues raised by the agency and intend to resubmit the application to the agency in a timely manner to maintain the customer’s in-service date requirement.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

More in Government