With Chesterfield NJ’s People Over Pipelines, mapping environmental impacts of two mile stretch of natural gas pipeline

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The first hour is spent observing three people from Chesterfield New Jersey’s People Over Pipelines, mapping the environmental impacts of a two mile stretch of Southern Reliability Link (SRL) natural gas pipeline for Garden State Expansion (GSE) project. The project ostensibly increases energy capacity for New Jersey residents, but given the circumference and orders of magnitude greater pressure in the pipe, it is likely for export only. We start at the New Jersey Turnpike between exit six and seven, at the location where one and possibly two new compressor stations are being proposed. Right where the turnpike was expanded, it is suspected that the widening was not needed at all, except as a ruse to install the currently unused pipeline at public expense, long before the permitting process began.

At around the 1hr 12min mark, I have a conversation with a farmer whose lake, his only source of irrigation, will be permanently drained. In order to build the compressor station, the wetlands that it is being built on must be “dewatered.” According to the farmer, this process will take place seven months out of the year, draining 6,000 gallons every minute. Even though this draining will be done a quarter-mile away, over those seven months to year and a half, the lake will be entirely drained, along with everybody’s drinking wells and even the stream going through Sucker Run.

Since his only supply of irrigation will be permanently taken away, he will no longer be able to grow crops, and in a year, his land will likely be re-zoned as residential, causing his property taxes to skyrocket. Not to mention the wildlife and hundreds of trees that will be displaced or killed. He has been told that a water truck will be supplied for him, but only enough to live as a resident, not nearly enough to farm. He suspects that his land that is being eyed to connect the two parks that currently are on either side of his property.