Nearly a year after local residents and elected officials in Hudson County began organizing in opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that, if approved, will run under parts of Hudson County, residents across the Hudson River are starting to take notice.
Residents in Manhattan who oppose the pipeline said at a meeting in the West Village last week that they expect Jersey City to take the lead in defeating the pipeline.
If approved by the federal government, the 15.5-mile pipeline will carry 800 million cubic feet of natural gas per day through Jersey City and Bayonne to New York City’s Con Edison customers.
‘Jersey City has been way out ahead on this.’ – Clare Donohue
Earlier this year, the energy company revised the pipeline route and made other changes to its original design to accommodate concerns raised by residents and by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, operator of the PATH subway tubes under the river.
Spectra also insists that it is working with energy suppliers in the Garden State to sell the natural gas to New Jersey residents as well. However, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which supplies energy to most Hudson County residents, stated in April that it is not working with Spectra and is not planning to connect to the pipeline if it is built.
PSEG also recently decided to close its Unit 1 station, according to William Schulte, a member of the Jersey City Environmental Commission who has also done work for a local group that opposes the pipeline. The Unit 1 station, Schulte said, primarily uses natural gas.
Looking to New Jersey
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is reviewing Specta’s proposal and is expected to release a decision early next year.
At the meeting in New York last week, Clare Donohue of New York’s Sane Energy Project, a group that advocates the use of renewable energy alternatives, said, “Jersey City has been way out ahead on this. They were organizing against the pipeline last year.”
Donohue told residents that if the federal government approves the plan, “It’s our belief that Jersey City will almost certainly take some kind of legal action…Jersey City will almost certainly sue in federal court to block [construction of the pipeline].”
This move, she said, would likely drag out in court for years, which will give residents more time to overturn FERC’s decision.
Not everyone opposes the pipeline. Labor groups have been very supportive of the project, arguing that it will bring much-needed jobs to the area.
The project, according to Spectra public relations materials, will “create more than 5,000 regional jobs...including more than 2,300 in Jersey City alone.” The remaining 2,700 regional jobs could be created in Bayonne, Linden, or Manhattan.
At least six unions on both sides of the river have endorsed the pipeline. But last week, the Jersey City Fire Officer Association came out against it.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.