Pinelands Commission to Review New Jersey Natural Gas Pipeline
The New Jersey Pinelands Commission has not yet set a date to discuss the Southern Reliability Link Pipeline, according to New Jersey Natural Gas spokesman Mike Kinney. The SRL is the second pipeline that is proposed to cross through the Pinelands Natural Reserve. The first was the South Jersey Gas pipeline, which was approved by the Pinelands Commission on Feb. 24 during a contentious public meeting in Cherry Hill. That pipeline will allow B.L. England to change its coal-fired power plant in Cape May County to instead run on natural gas.
Because of the increased scrutiny and protests by conservation groups, and the precedent set by the appeal of the first pipeline, the Pinelands Commission has asked the attorney general’s office to remand the Southern Reliability Link back to the Pinelands Commission for a second look and a full commission decision. The commission staff had already approved the “certificate of filing” with the N.J. Board of Public Utilities, a certificate that all energy projects need in order to proceed. Ninety percent of the Southern Reliability Link pipeline is proposed to run under or alongside existing roads and right-of-ways from the Transco interstate pipeline in Chesterfield, Burlington County, east 30 miles to link with an existing distribution pipeline in Manchester Township, Ocean County. The new route is through the Pinelands National Reserve but does not cross any Forest Areas, the most protected areas of the PNR, as the South Jersey Gas pipeline will.
“The purpose of the Southern Reliability Link is to diversify the natural gas network so that we are not receiving the supply from just one interstate pipeline,” said Kinney. —P.J.