A coalition of 23 environmental organizations asked Burlington County Freeholders to block a 28-mile pipeline that would transport fracked natural gas through the Pinelands National Reserve and Burlington County, among other areas in the state.
The coalition, led by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, sent a letter on July 18 calling on freeholders to deny any permit for construction of the New Jersey Natural Gas Southern Reliability Link Pipeline on its county roads.
Construction of the SRL has already begun in Ocean County, despite pending legal challenges brought by the Alliance and its partners.
“The Burlington County freeholders have the power and the justification to deny road occupancy permits for NJNG’s planned use of county roads for the pipeline,” argued the group’s letter.
Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Bordentown and Chesterfield townships, and the N.J. Chapter of the Sierra Club are appealing the Pinelands Commission’s approval of the pipeline in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. That appeal is currently being briefed, according to the Alliance.
“The SRL was approved by regulators because it has been shown over and over again to provide critical benefits to the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Burlington County’s largest employer, as well as a half a million other NJNG customers,” said Kevin Roberts, a spokesperson for the company.
New Jersey Natural Gas has argued in the past that the pipeline is critical for enhancing the reliability of gas delivery to its over 500,0000 customers throughout the state. The pipeline would represent a second connection between the New Jersey Natural Gas network and the interstate transmission lines that bring natural gas north from the Gulf Coast.
The coalition is led by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, along with Action Together New Jersey, Action Together Burlington and Ocean Counties; Citizens United for Renewable Energy; Don’t Gas the Pinelands Coalition; Environment New Jersey; Food & Water Watch; GreenFaith; Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of NJ; New Jersey Conservation Foundation; NJ League of Conservation Voters; NJ Sierra Club; the Township of North Hanover; People over Pipelines; Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Marlton; ReThink Energy NJ; Save Barnegat Bay; St. Matthew Lutheran Church Green Team in Moorestown; Sustainable South Jersey; The Watershed Institute; Tri-County Sustainability Alliance; and WATERSPIRIT.