Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Jersey Highlands Natural Gas Pipeline Update

By Nick Bower

The New Jersey Highlands and the natural gas pipeline that is being built through it by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company have made headlines in the past few weeks. The pipeline, which is part of a project called Northeast Upgrade, is intended to pump natural gas from Pennsylvania to the East Coast.

In March, the metering station constructed by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company in Mahwah was in the news when hikers complained of a rumbling coming from its direction. The company admitted that the station needs an upgrade; a month has gone by with no repairs to the metering station.

Also in March, two local residents were arrested in Ringwood for attempting to halt the construction of the pipeline and the deconstruction of the forest. The two men locked themselves onto a tree that was set to be cut down to make way for the pipeline. They were eventually removed by police and arrested.

The most current and noteworthy news is that the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company is being sued by the state of New Jersey for not reforesting sufficiently enough in the Bearfort Mountain area in West Milford.

“It sounds like finally the state has done something to make them comply and do the right thing,” Stephen Sangle, the head of the West Milford Environmental Commission told The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company was supposed to plant a total of 3,940 plants and shrubs combined in the West Milford and Hamburg area, and planted a total of 200.

“Their plantings were too small and just not acceptable,” Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese told

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company is currently reviewing the claim and must submit a corrective action plan on how they will fix it. The company has received breaks from the state of New Jersey before to minimize impact on forests in the Highlands. West Milford is planning to apply to the state for money that the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company gave to New Jersey to allocate for residents affected by the construction of the pipeline.

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