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Van Drew Starts to Investigate Rejection of B.L. England Plant Pipeline

Environment | Mon, 02/17/2014 - 5:04 pm | Updated 1 year 8 weeks ago | Read 2381 | Commented 9 | Emailed 2

By Press Release

Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1st) addresses Cape May County League of Municipalities Jan. 28 in Sea Isle City. Photo by Al Campbell.

BEESLEY’S POINT – An investigatory process was started Feb. 12 by Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1st) and Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak (D-1st) into the reasons for rejection of South Jersey Gas’ application to build a gas pipeline from Millville to the B.L. England Generating plant, owned by R.C. Cape May.

The senator, in a release, stated, “I’m going to look at every aspect of this process and analyze how we can make it right. Make no mistake about it, we need to build this pipeline and I’m going to give it my level best to make it happen. I am asking the governor and Senate president to help in this process.”

Van Drew stated, as he had to the Cape May County League of Municipalities Jan. 28, there were 75 construction jobs that would have been created to erect the pipeline, and 60 jobs saved at the generating plant, if it remains open. The coal-fired plant may have to close if it cannot meet stringent air quality standards.

“Currently there is only one major source of natural gas into Cape May County and if that line is compromised, there will be no source of natural gas into the entire county,” the senator stated.

“The First Legislative District, as we have heard and read too often, has one of the worst economies in the entire country. We need to create and find thousands of new jobs and certainly not destroy the few good jobs that we already have,” he continued.

By order of the Department of Environmental Protection, the B.L. England Plant must cease burning coal. Upper Township receives Energy Receipts taxes for hosting the plant, and would lose that revenue source if the plan were to close. Property tax increases would likely be “significant,” Van Drew stated, should the plant close.

“The decision to reject the application by the Pinelands Commission was devastatingly bad at a multitude of levels,” Van Drew stated.

• Loss of more permanent jobs in a region of the state that is already suffering terribly if the plant closes.

• Loss of public safety without a redundant gas line coming into Cape May County.

• Loss of construction jobs building the pipeline.

• Loss of a major ratable in Upper Township which could trigger a tax increase.

• Loss of increasing energy independence by relying on other energy sources which in some cases are a source of greater pollution. Others have suggested wind turbines or solar field on the site.

• “I am in favor of solar and wind energy, but we also need to utilize all forms of energy to push our economy forward. A gas-fueled plant will burn cleanly and efficiently. If we can build wind turbines or solar panels at the site as well, I will be supportive, but we must get natural gas there and build this pipeline. This two-foot-wide pipeline underground along a roadway will not harm the pinelands.

“This was a devastatingly bad decision by the Pinelands Commission and Assemblyman Andrzejczak and I will do all that we possibly can to make it right,” Van Drew concluded.

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Thu, 02/20/2014 - 12:38pm - Posted by: AuntMary

Waynemaz, I did not mean there would be fracking in the pinelands. But fracking is mushrooming at an alarming rate in towns all over the country in the gas industry's mad scramble to make mega profits at ordinary non-biliionaire person's peril. They have made people's drinking water too toxic to drink and they got congress to pass a bill exempting fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Does that sound democratic to you? Gas executives won't be fracking on their own property but they offer struggling people $$ to frack on theirs and lie and tell them it is safe. This is a huge issue in NY and PA. I know people who live near the Delaware River and they are going through it right now. It is an irresponsible industry, they don't care what they do to people.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 2:48pm - Posted by: waynemaz

It is tough to balance energy needs with the environmental needs. Folks on both sides exaggerate a lot, usually somewhere in the middle is the truth. I don't think anyone is thinking "fracking" under the pinelands. Yes, Auntmary fire is a danger but from what I understand, lightning strikes pose a much, much bigger threat to start a fire. I agree this should be decided not politically, but on merits of the project. Either way I don't think all will be happy. There are arguments for both sides, philosophically and practically. But there is also reality, and folks and the economy can't suffer job losses and higher electric bills.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 11:55am - Posted by: AuntMary

Fracking is an extremely polluting process, so to call natural gas 'clean burning' is not very accurate. Also, what happens if there is a gas explosion. The pinelands would go up in flames and they might not be able to put it out. It would be a large amount of gas.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 11:43am - Posted by: samkelly

Waynmaz, I do not disagree with your thinking. I simply believe this should be handled by those we have entrusted. Certainly without political intervention, which emboldens the likes of clammer to disparage these folks.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 11:29am - Posted by: villainesta

So what's next Jeff? Fracking. Sure open the Pinelands to fracking . Think of all the jobs. That's what the Republican governor of Ohio has done: ok fracking in public parks. Hey Jeff, get our illustrious governor to bully the commissioners into changing their minds. He's good at that.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:43am - Posted by: waynemaz

I believe the Senator and Assemblyman are on the right side of this issue. If it were an oil pipeline or such then, no. But a gas pipeline, underground seems to be a safe idea. The county needs the generating plant, the residents need to keep electric bills as low as possible. I think an approval should come with a 10 year guarantee of no, or minimal rate increases to the county folks. The only possible big danger is a rupture and fire? That seems very far -fetched. Sometimes the environmental folks must learn to give a little. As technologies get better this will probably be changed as well. Coal burning seems a bigger danger and closing should not be a considered.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 9:18am - Posted by: clammer

There was absolutely no down side to the proposed ( 16 " ) gas line, including environmentally (none). The upside: cleaner air, hundreds of jobs, and cheaper heating /energy bills for the people of SJ. Seven members of the pineland commission (7-7 vote) were obviously deceived. Extremist group disciples use fear, innuendos and lies to push their agenda. Here is an example : Jeff Title of the ( Sierra Club )was quoted in the Cape May County Herald claiming that the horseshoe crab was on the endangered list, to push their agenda. However, the horseshoe crab is not on the endangered, or the threatened list. They also used innuendos about drinking water to ruin the many benefits of this pipeline. When you get your electric bill increase, remember to thank the seven dummies on the pineland commission.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 8:14pm - Posted by: samkelly

I see no difference in the Senator, just what has been in view for some time. Run on one ticket and accommodate those from the other. A professional politician to the very core. This is exactly what this business giant needs, political support to potentially destroy the pinelands.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 6:13pm - Posted by: villainesta

Well, well, what happened to the far left candidate who began his political career glad handing prospective voters outside of Shoprite? He come a long way from those days and and one would think he is positioning himself for bigger and better things. I guess I'll vote for him considering the alternative, but I will hold my nose. I can't forget his appearance in Cape May Point regarding their phantom school district and if the reports were right, his fawning over the chiselers was sick making.

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