Radical Environmentalists Tell South Jersey Residents to Just Drop Dead

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reportsJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


Radical environmentalists have told South Jersey residents their energy needs don’t matter and to just drop dead. Green political correctness is what counts.

Anti fossil fuel freaks have scored a victory in reducing the amount of electricity available to New Jersey’s southern shore area (rolling blackouts anyone?). There was a plan to convert a now-closed coal-fired electric generating plant to use natural gas, fed to it by a new (very short) pipeline.

The Sierra Club and other radical groups have opposed the project for years, tying it up in an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits. The plant owner has finally thrown in the towel and no longer wants to do the project. Thanks, Sierra Club!

The question now is, will the pipeline project that would have fed the plant still get built? Running a spur to the power plant was part of the justification for the pipeline project, but not all of the justification.

The “Southern Reliability Link” pipeline project is a $130 million, 28-mile natural gas pipeline proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) to connect NJNG’s distribution system serving customers in Ocean, Burlington and Monmouth counties (in NJ) and the interstate pipeline system adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike. In addition to providing gas to the power plant, the pipeline is meant to provide a backup for hundreds of thousands of NJ residents who lost access to natural gas following Super Storm Sandy. Redundancy is a good thing when it comes to natgas supplies.

south jersey

The pipeline would run through 12 miles of scrub pines that are “protected” in NJ. The scrub pines are actually overseen by a state commission, the Pinelands Commission. In Sept. 2017 the full Commission voted 8 to 4 (with 1 abstention) to approve the Southern Reliability Link project (see Pinelands Commission Approves Pipeline Thru NJ Scrub Pines). Big Green contested the Commission’s vote in court. Not one shovelful of dirt has been turned to build it–yet.

The question now is, with part (not all) of the raison d’etre gone (no power plant), will the Commission have to re-vote? Will the pipeline ever get built? Will demented antis ever pull their heads out of their…whoops, there we go saying something with our out-loud voice again. Check out this Atlantic City Press story:

There is no longer a need for a South Jersey Gas pipeline to the B.L. England electric plant in Beesleys Point, after the plant owner said in court papers Wednesday it no longer plans to repower the facility with natural gas.

But that doesn’t mean a pipeline project is dead, said South Jersey Industries Vice President of Communications Marissa Travaline.

“It may be a different-looking project,” she said, but the company still feels the region needs a second transmission line, in case an accident or natural event damaged the only one serving the Cape peninsula.

Dave Robbins, president of South Jersey Gas, said the company has already begun to explore options for another pipeline to serve the company’s 142,000 customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties.

On Wednesday, an attorney for the company that owns the plant, RC Cape May Holdings, sent a letter to the Appellate Division of Superior Court asking to withdraw the company from a lawsuit against the state Pinelands Commission over its February 2017 approval of the pipeline.

No one from the Pinelands Commission could be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Then, the state Attorney General’s Office, which represents the commission, sent a letter asking for a postponement of the case, due to the changed circumstances.

“Today, Intervenor RC Cape May Holdings … stated, for the first time, that the B.L. England electric generating plant will not repower and will not be using the South Jersey Gas pipeline,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a letter dated Wednesday.

Grewal said that decision undermines the basis for the Pinelands Commission’s approval of the pipeline. The commission had said it approved it because it served a business in the Pinelands and would benefit people living there, and required a new application to the commission if there was any redirection of the gas from the B.L. England plant.

“This means the entire basis for the Pinelands Commission approval of the pipeline is now gone,” said Pinelands Preservation Alliance Executive Director Carleton Montgomery, “because the commission approved the pipeline on the sole basis that all the gas would go to a new plant at B.L. England, a use located inside the Pinelands.”

PPA and other environmental groups had sued the Pinelands Commission over its decision. They disagreed that the pipeline was a permitted use in protected areas of the Pinelands, and with the argument that the pipeline would benefit people who lived in the Pinelands.

“It was a terrible argument, but now even that terrible argument is invalidated,” said Montgomery. “The BPU (New Jersey Board of Public Utilities) also relied on the representation that the pipeline would serve a power plant at the B.L. England site, so its approval too is invalidated. The only course now is for the Pinelands Commission and the BPU to withdraw their approvals of the pipeline altogether.”

Environmentalists had been fighting the project for years, arguing it would damage the Pinelands and promote fossil fuel use rather than renewable energy such as wind or solar power.

The pipeline was supported by business and labor groups, and many of the towns through which the 22-mile pipeline would have run from Maurice River Township to Upper Township.

Ten of those miles would travel through protected Forest Areas, where utility infrastructure is only allowed if it serves the Pinelands.

“I’m surprised, since it did go through the Pinelands Commission and the whole process,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, a strong supporter of the pipeline during his days as a state senator from Cape May County.

He said he supported it because it was to be installed along roadways, not through pristine areas; would keep the plant operating and keep jobs in the district; and because it would provide another way of getting natural gas to Cape May County.

“There is no question we only have … one line going in,” said Van Drew. “If something happens, there really is going to be a big problem. I thought the redundancy was a good thing. It was a big public safety feature. But companies make decisions.”

According to Upper Township Mayor Richard Palombo, crews were in the process of decommissioning two of the power-generating units at the B.L. England plant last fall. It has operated as a peak provider of electricity to the grid during times of highest use, and is due to stop operating altogether in May.

Editor’s Note: This story illustrates the absurdity and dangerous nature of radical environmentalism. This power plant exists and could have supplied much needed clean energy and energy security to 142,000 residents of South Jersey. It required a pipeline that would be placed in an existing highway right-of-way. Yet, a handful of radical environmentalists led by Jumpin’ Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club, using gentry class funding, were able to stop the power plan conversion and may well stop the pipeline based on nothing more than hyperbole, speculation and green political correctness.

This is the sad state of affairs in many parts of the Northeast and it is already taking a toll in places such as Westchester County, New York. Madness has taken over in New York and New Jersey, it seems. We could tolerate that, I oppose, if it didn’t require telling South Jersey and Westchester residents to just drop dead.

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7 thoughts on “Radical Environmentalists Tell South Jersey Residents to Just Drop Dead

  1. It’s madness here in the gas fields of Pa..
    Where Cabot has recently admitted to planning on drilling
    Thousands of more gas wells in just one or two counties.
    The impact of that is to be considered on our air, land and water and health..

    • Vera the country needs energy. Natural gas is the cleanest and most efficient form of energy, it provides thousands of jobs here in Pennsylvania and millions in state revenue via the impact fund. We should be encouraging companies like Cabot and other oil and gas companies to invest in Pennsylvania.

  2. It is appalling that outsiders even get to have a say in what the locals approve, let alone being able to override the locals. It would be much more appropriate, if those opposing such infrastructure, would have to provide a real alternative replacement to the lost energy, not just a preference for an alternative. That is, if a generator plant or pipeline is canceled due to outsider opposition, those opposing it have to step up and immediately provide new service to replace what they kill.

  3. Note to author: this post identifies the Southern Reliability Link as the pipeline project now in jeopardy. It is not – the SRL is a separate project by New Jersey Natural Gas (one company) than the South Jersey Gas (separate company) pipeline that was proposed to the connect to the BL England plant.

  4. Perhaps some “Jersey Justice” is due… You know, like a one way boating trip to see where the 350 ft high “pinwheels” are supposed to go? . The radical environmentalists should be care for what they wish for. No quarter.

  5. In the past the anti’s only tried to stop future development and get rid of stuff like this coal plant. This rarely bothered ordinary people because the energy status quo still worked. Now they have begun to cut into the safety margin needed to grid work in increasingly extreme weather. Boston is a prime example and now this part of NJ is at risk also.

    The Sierra Club, et. al. are congratulating themselves on winning this skirmish, but the a making a strategic error. Of course, like airplane and car safety, nothing will be done until there is an emergency or fatalities.

    Here is a modest suggestion. Drop all you favorite right wing buzz words, like radical, liberal, socialist, etc. You may think and speak that way, but the people you need to convince of the mistakes of the anti’s don’t and, if it worked, you would have won by now.

    Do make sure that the next cold snap or heat wave, you make sure that newspapers and call in shows know that if that old coal fired monstrosity had been converted to clean and reliable gas, they wouldn’t be freezing or basting in their sweat, waiting for non-existent and unreliable renewables.

    Know ahead of time how much power was lost by the plant closure and how little renewable is on hand that can’t come close to replacing it. Most people just want the power to be there when it is needed. When enough people know that the Sierra Club has left them in the lurch, but gas would worked, we erode the anti’s support.

    • Mark, unfortunately that ship has sailed if it ever made to the dock in the first place. Humans are emotional animals and rarely respond to reason in a positive manner. Note the terrorist activities conducted by Al Gore’s spawn without any justice being metered out.
      We had 4 major Ice Ages in which the climate changed and forever changed the physical properties of most of the planet, yet you are still called a “denier”.
      I unfortunately foresee some not so good times ahead, including bloodshed. To quote Johnny Rambo, “They drew First Blood!!!!”

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