The same Hopewell Township that was proud to win the 2017 Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge to support green energy is in the path of the PennEast Pipeline, which won a decision in U.S. District Court in December that found the project has the right to begin surveying land—including private land—on the proposed route. PennEast still must get approval from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission before construction can begin.

PennEast claims the pipeline will benefit Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents with a greater supply of natural gas. A September 2016 letter posted on the PennEast Web site says the pipeline will not export natural gas, but where is the guarantee of that? The pipeline is due to connect here in Hopewell Township with the Transco pipeline, which runs between the Gulf of Mexico and Long Island.

While the website of Williams, which operates the Transco line, describes Transco as moving natural gas from the Gulf to the Northeast, the pipeline is projected to be fully bi-directional by 2020, according to a presentation from Williams’ 2017 Winter Operations Meetings, meaning gas could flow back to the Gulf. Why is that important? Williams’ own “Pipe Up” blog can explain.

In a 2017 posting about expanding capacity to serve a Louisiana gulf coast liquefied natural gas, Rory Miller, a Williams senior VP, is quoted as saying “Williams is well-positioned to take advantage of the projected surge in LNG demand growth, with our Transco pipeline passing through every U.S. state with an LNG export facility currently under construction.”

PennEast touts the pipeline’s safety measures, but pipeline accidents happen. Just in October 2018, a gas pipeline in British Columbia, Canada, exploded.

Imagine the tragedy that could come with such an explosion here, in our town. The AP story about the Canadian blast described a fireball lighting up the sky.Imagine the tragedy that could come with such an explosion here, in our town. The AP story about the Canadian blast described a fireball lighting up the sky.

The only fireball that should be in Hopewell Township skies is the sun, from where we should be getting more of our energy anyway. Plenty of voices in our community, including those on the Hopewell Township Committee, are pushing against this pipeline. Let’s hope the NJDEP and DRBC are listening.

— Andrew Borders, Hopewell Township