Van Drew and Andrzejczak Announce Plan to Move Pipeline Project Forward : News Room : The Van Drew Team for Change : Jeff Van Drew, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land
Van Drew and Andrzejczak Announce Plan to Move Pipeline Project Forward
TRENTON – Senator Jeff Van Drew announced a new effort to advance the project to build a natural gas pipeline to the B.L. England generating station in South Jersey by working with state leaders to determine a feasible path forward.
“The pipeline project is absolutely vital to South Jersey and the state and failing to move it forward could threaten progress in our region for years to come. I have spoken personally to both Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney and they are just as committed as I am to protecting the economy of the region and ensuring a strong energy future for the state through this effort,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “I am proud to have their support in this process as we seek the best way to move this project forward.”
Van Drew said numerous methods exist to advance the pipeline project, including South Jersey Gas seeking a special waiver from the Pinelands Commission. Under Pinelands Commission rules, the commission may waive strict compliance with the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan through what is known as a “Compelling Public Need Waiver.” The waiver would require the company to demonstrate there is a compelling public need for the project and that no feasible alternatives exist. Senator Van Drew noted that this could be a viable option since reliable gas and electricity delivery is essential to the health and safety of the region.
“This is not the end of the line for this project. The fact is that the Pinelands Commission rejected a specific proposal that was before them under very difficult circumstances. The vote occurred at the height of an emotionally-charged debate during which a lot of misinformation was disseminated,” said Senator Van Drew. “I will not sit by and watch the generating station close, our energy reliability deteriorate and our region’s economy falter due to this wrong-headed decision. I am committed to working to move this project forward for the benefit of Cape May County, the region and the state.”
The pipeline project, which was rejected by the commission in January, would have put a two-foot-wide natural gas pipeline underground along the right-of-way of a State highway in the Pinelands. The project would not have resulted in a loss of wildlife, trees, or other vegetation, as some have suggested. Without it, however, the B.L. England generating station in Beesleys Point could be forced to close. In addition, not moving the pipeline project forward would make the region more vulnerable to gas outages, since there is only one line for natural gas running into Cape May County. Senator Van Drew has aggressively advocated for the natural gas pipeline project in order to protect the energy future and the economic viability of the region.
“For the good of our region, we have to find a way to advance the pipeline to the B.L. England generating station in Beesleys Point. I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure that happens,” said Senator Van Drew. “We are at a crossroads when it comes to our economic and energy future and this project is a major component in securing a stronger and more prosperous region and state. I want to thank the governor and the senate president for their support on this important effort and I look forward to the work ahead.”