Trenton, NJ: Sierra Club NJ reports 2.27.2019 – The Board of Public Utilities today deferred action on an effort by the New Jersey Sierra Club, Docket No. GO15040403, to obtain a stay blocking ongoing construction of the Southern Reliability Link pipeline. The pipeline proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas would cut 28 miles across environmentally sensitive areas of the Pinelands.

“We asked BPU to do their job by putting a stay on construction of the Southern Reliability Link. Instead they punted on protecting the environment and ratepayers from a dangerous and unnecessary pipeline. NJNG has already been digging up people’s lawns in neighborhoods of Ocean County and is approaching environmentally sensitive and scenic area of the Pinelands in Manchester. NJNG is trying to rush this pipeline through, at our peril,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

The Southern Reliability Link is one of two proposed Pinelands pipelines that the New Jersey Sierra Club is trying to stop. The other proposal, a South Jersey Gas pipeline, would create a gas-powered B.L England power plant. The pipelines will damage wetlands, streams and important open spaces, and threaten one of the largest sources of drinking water on the east coast.

“BPU is just kicking the can down the road, delay, delay and more delay. That allows NJNG to continue building a destructive pipeline that will cause irreparable harm by moving forward with construction, even as we await a court decision. NJNG is building at its own risk while risking public safety and the environment.  If we are able to stop the pipeline, taxpayers will also have to bear the cost of taking it out. NJNG should be prohibited from continuing any construction on this pipeline,” said Tittel. “If this keeps up the entire pipeline will be built before BPU does anything.”

The New Jersey Sierra Club is part of the Empower NJ coalition calling on Gov. Murphy to place a moratorium on all fossil-fuel infrastructure projects in the state. The two Pinelands pipelines are among 13 proposed pipelines and power plants that, if built, would raise our greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent.

“The governor has said he wants to reduce greenhouse gases and protect the Pinelands. He continues to do neither. We asked him for a stay on the SRL pipeline, and we have not heard anything. That’s why a moratorium is needed that would halt the pipelines and other fossil-fuel projects before they create irreversible damage,” said Jeff Tittel , Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The SRL pipeline would destroy the Pinelands and block Gov. Murphy’s 100% renewable energy goals. We need an immediate stay on the project.”