Letter to the Editor: B.L. England pipeline/Disappointing vote – Jan. 28

Letter to the Editor: B.L. England pipeline/Disappointing vote – Jan. 28

Posted at February 4, 2014 | By : | Categories : Members,Press Release |

Letter to the Editor
Regarding the Jan. 15 story, “B.L. England pipeline/Disappointing vote”

Atlantic City Press, Jan. 28, 2014

As you noted in your January 15, 2014 Editorial (“Disappointing Vote”), the recent decision by the Pinelands Commission to deny approvals for a natural gas pipeline running through the Pine Barrens is indeed a serious misstep.

As our state struggles to create jobs and economic prosperity, the environmental community continues to think of ways to stop or delay legitimate, safe, environmentally sound projects for our region.

The Pinelands has always had adequate protections and safeguards from development in its footprint. Running infrastructure along existing right of ways has been done safely for many years, and protective construction techniques and restorative mitigation are always at the forefront of any development plans in the Pinelands. Despite positive recommendations by Pinelands Commission staff, a number of Commissioners saw otherwise.

As the Sierra Club and others exhorted the Commission to deny the petition, claiming that it was the beginning of the end of protections of the Pinelands, it’s clear that this is really an issue of energy independence amid a national struggle by many to deny South Jersey, our state, and our country access to plentiful supplies of natural gas.

Plentiful natural gas is the key to lower electricity prices and a reliable supply of electricity for our region.

In terms of the approval process, while some may have believed it was rushed, it is important to get timely approvals for such large scale projects so they can in fact come on line and citizens can realize the inherent benefits of such projects. Delay and disruption of the process, though, are typical tactics for those folks that want no growth or want our economy to stagnate. Progress to some is going backwards, which can’t be allowed to occur.

Creating jobs and providing economic activity, while achieving what the DEP has sought for many years-the cessation of coal burning at B. L. England-was truly a win-win for our region.

It’s unfortunate that, without the Pinelands approval, the plant will likely close, creating more potential hardship for our region. Higher energy costs, potential loss of tax revenue for Upper Township, and a loss of jobs both during construction and post construction, are only some of the realities of the Pinelands denial.

The New Jersey Energy Coalition supports safe, reliable and clean electricity, without damaging our environment. That mission is possible and was doable in the case of B.L. England, but the Pinelands Commission let this one get away.

 

EDWARD SALMON
Chairman

BOB MARSHALL
Executive Director

New Jersey Energy Coalition, Millville, NJ