The pipeline proposal is a $65 million dollar 22 mile natural gas pipeline that will power the now-defunct Beesley’s Point power plant located in Upper Township NJ. The pipeline will straddle the border of the Pinelands National Reserve, which was the nation’s first national reserve when it was created back in 1978. The reserve encompasses over 1 million acres and is mostly remote containing arguably the most pristine wilderness in the northeastern United States.
The proposed pipeline violates the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), which only permits such infrastructure in the Forest Management Area if it is “intended to primarily serve the needs of the Pinelands.” N.J.A.C. 7:50-5.23. There is no exception for pipes to run along or under roads.
This kind of infrastructure will bring a variety of environmental harms and pressure for more development along its route. The Pinelands Commission is charged to defend the Pinelands CMP, yet it has discussed waiving the restrictions with the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and South Jersey Gas by entering into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The MOA regulations are for public entities, which South Jersey Gas is not.