Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
A New Jersey pipeline battle provides shows how radical special interests are being allowed to manipulate the system and strangle the Northeast economy.
The New Jersey Pinelands Commission, which oversees a stand of scrub pines in South Jersey, held a public hearing on Monday to listen to comments on a plan to build a 22-mile pipeline through the scrub pines, burying it alongside the road so as to not disturb any spindly trees. The pipeline will supply clean-burning natural gas to a power plant currently fed by coal, cleaning up the air and lowering CO2 emissions. Naturally, fractivists, who might better be called pine nuts in this instance, oppose any such thing, as they always do.
Dunderheads in the area, largely incited by radical environmental groups such as the New Jersey Sierra Club and the odious Food and Water Watch who spread lies about the project have come out to oppose it. So many people turned up for the meeting, in fact, it maxed out the meeting room capacity of 260 persons and some had to wait outside in the rain (which didn’t sit well with the pampered snowflakes).
Predictably many who showed up wanted to go on record as opposed to the project. Isn’t that always the case? It’s easy to motivate people to attend a meeting when they’re against something—much harder to attract people who support something. At any rate, the surprising thing about yesterday’s meeting were the many people who turned out to support the pipeline. Also predictable, at least one anti (from the odious Food and Water Watch) couldn’t contain herself and had to be ejected for disrupting the meeting.
Commissioners may vote at their next meeting on Feb. 10 to approve the pipeline project. We continue to monitor this project because the gas that will flow to that power plant and to businesses/residents in the area will come from the nearby Marcellus in Pennsylvania. Here are some excerpts from the story in the Atlantic City Press (emphasis added):
Lena Smith, of New Jersey’s Food and Water Watch, left [she was police-escorted out] after disrupting the meeting with chants of “Shut it down, shut the meeting down” and calls that the meeting be postponed to find a larger space to accommodate everyone. Smith’s organization has long fought the pipeline…
South Jersey Gas wants to build the pipeline to repower the B.L. England electric generating plant in Upper Township. Under an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the existing coal and oil plant must shut down May 1 because it cannot meet clean air requirements. But the plant can reopen as a natural gas plant.
The 22-mile pipeline will run from Maurice River Township to the power plant, travelling along roadsides through about 10 miles of protected Pinelands Forest Area.
DEP Director of Air Quality Francis Steitz said if the B.L. England plant does not reopen as a gas-fired plant, more energy will be produced out of state in coal plants, and that air pollution will waft over to New Jersey.
While the majority of speakers were against the pipeline, a good number of people also were there in support of it.
“This pipeline will benefit the Pinelands,” said Vicki Clark, of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. “One-third of Cape May County is in the Pinelands.”
The pipeline is also being billed as a way to provide a backup source of natural gas to the Cape May peninsula, which is now served by only one pipeline.
It also will be a backup supply for some residents of Atlantic County, for a total of 142,000 customers in both counties, said South Jersey Gas Senior Vice President of Engineering and System Integrity Bob Fatzinger.
Supporters included labor leaders and union members, chamber of commerce representatives and South Jersey residents who stressed the need for jobs and a clean alternative energy source at B.L. England.
“It’s beautiful out there, but where the gas line is going on the side of the road it’s not going to affect anything,” said Kevin Polloff, of Millville, who said he spends a lot of time in the Pinelands for recreation.
But by far, most of the speakers argued against allowing the pipeline to move forward.
Many opponents argued the pipeline is not allowed under the commission’s Comprehensive Management Plan rules. Those rules state a utility line such as a pipeline is not allowed in protected Forest Areas unless it primarily benefits the Pinelands, and they say the energy from B.L. England goes into a regional grid, not to Pinelands homes.
Commission Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg decided on her own the pipeline did primarily benefit the Pinelands, because the B.L. England electric plant is located in the Pinelands and it has contracted to use at least 95 percent of the gas that goes through it.
But a state Appellate Court panel decided in November she cannot make that decision on her own and said the commission must vote on it.
That vote may happen as soon as the commission’s Feb. 10 meeting.
Those angry at being left out in the cold rain set up a protest outside under the windows where the commissioners sat.
“Jobs, energy, fracking … it’s not your job to fix them,” said June Hament, of Voorhees, Camden County. “Your job is to protect the Pinelands. All the other problems can be handled, but not by you.”
Editor’s Note: There is so much wrong with what’s going on in this case. The highlighted ending comment from these excerpts provides a good overview, though. It perfectly illustrates the myopic self-centered perspective of fractivist organizations such as the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch and their supporters. Both are huge special interest organizations funded by wealthy outsiders to agitate, disrupt, delay, interfere and stop whatever they can by appealing to the aesthetic interests of those who want no disruptions of their world. It is a window into the utter selfishness of the fractivist mind.
Once again, we also see the total lack of regard for the environment these environmental groups would have us believe they care about. This pipeline will serve to help convert a coal plant to gas, reducing emissions of every kind. They simply don’t care. They refuse to exercise any reason because they’re wedded to a utopian vision they’re determined to impose on everyone else. They manipulate the system toward this end so as to bring it to a virtual halt. This is the problem throughout the Northeast where well funded radicals are given far too much leeway to insert themselves into issues at everyone else’s expense.
Finally, notice the selfish and childish sense of entitlement displayed by Lena Smith of Food and Water Watch who describes herself as “a pro-active and vibrant individual.” Her bosses are no doubt thrilled with her performance but the idea that an individual is entitled to take over a public meeting from the audience and shut it down is “privilege” on steroids at best and fascistic at worst. It’s the spoiled child disease that represents so much of fractivism. She’s a “Regional Organizer” for Food and Water Watch and has been a “organizer” (agitator) for most of her adult life. She’s paid in this case to “work on campaigns to ban hydraulic tracking,” according to her resume. She’s a graduate of Gordon College near Boston ($46,520 per year) and Washington University in St. Louis ($66,376 per year).