The non-profit organization Clean Ocean Action is encouraging Jersey Shore residents to join them in rallying against the Williams Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE Project) which proposes expanding a methane gas pipeline to New York by cutting through New Jersey.

The Williams Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement project has many permit applications still pending in New Jersey and the final deadline for the decision is in June.

Environmental and clean ocean economy groups such as Clean Ocean Action are fighting the project by holding a “LAST CHANCE TO RALLY FOR THE BAY and OCEAN” event to send a message to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to deny the permits with finality.

COA officials believe that the project will pollute the bay and ocean causing economic harm to citizens who live, work, and enjoy the marine environment.

As a result of the gas pipeline they said that "marine life will be contaminated, injured, or die from exposure to toxin laden muck, the chemical cocktail called drilling muds, and biocides, as well has ecological harm from habitat destruction."

“All citizens, small and tall, who enjoy or depend upon a heathy bay and ocean for today and the future are urged to attend.  This event is our final rallying call to send message to the Governor and his DEP,” Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action said.  “We want to send a loud and clear message that this project should be dead in the water, not marine life."

The COA feels that years of abuse and mismanagement of the Raritan Bay is not a reason it should be used as part of the pipeline project even with improvements made to the waterway in recent years.

"Three years ago the company submitted plans to construct a 23.4 mile underwater pipeline that would rip apart the Raritan Bay to bring climate-altering fracked natural gas to New York. The construction would re-suspend buried toxic sediment destroying the water quality, killing marine life, and destroying clean ocean economies. The project would also require large land based facilities and construction including compressors and pipelines that will increase pollution and cause significant and serious safety risks to communities."

On May 15, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied a water quality permit that the company needs to develop the pipeline.

The denial does allow for the company to resubmit the application if they can show increased mitigation and environmental protection.

A spokesman for Williams reportedly described the denial as a “minor technical issue with [the] application”, according to COA, and that the company’s team on the project “will be evaluating the issue and resubmitting” the application soon.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo and the NYDEC for denying the permit, but we need more decisive action. We need this project to be permanently denied for the health and safety of those along the Bayshore” Peter Blair, Policy Attorney for Clean Ocean Action said.

"This disastrous pipeline project would cut through Superfund Sites and environmentally sensitive areas like the Raritan Bay. Governor Cuomo did the right thing by rejecting their permits. We need Governor Murphy to step up and do the right thing by rejecting NESE too. The pipeline would disrupt contaminated sediment and release buried toxins that will impact critical ecosystems, fisheries, and us. This project will mean more gas and more pressure, increasing the chances of an accident,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is a major test for Governor Murphy when it comes to dealing with climate change, renewable energy, and protecting our bay. Murphy must deny the permits and protect our environment. There is nothing it for New Jersey if the gas goes to New York and we get stuck with the pipeline and its pollution.”

COA says the critical moment is here for them to stand up against the project and make sure the state follows suit.

“This is not a hard call,” Blair said. This project egregiously violates numerous New Jersey laws in countless ways. “Governor Murphy and the NJDEP must make a swift and decisive decision to deny the permits without leaving the door open so for the company to continue their attack on our natural environment and climate,”  added Blair.

Environmental advocates are not only calling on the NJDEP to deny the permits, but to deny them “with prejudice”, which would not allow the company to reapply for the crucial water quality permit and ending the three year fight once and for all.

The rally will take place 4:00 – 6:00 pm on Friday, May 31, at Bayshore Waterfront Park.

To learn more about the NESE Project, head to the projects website.

For more on Clean Ocean Action's stance, visit their website.

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