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The Pipeline

Houston, Texas-based Spectra Energy wants to build a major natural gas pipeline expansion to New York City that will run through the heart of Jersey City. Jersey City will bear tremendous risks with no reward, all for the benefit of New York City.

» The Proposed Route
» Why Now?
» The Process
» Who is Spectra Energy?
» Who is FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)?

The Proposed Route

Spectra is proposing to run the pipeline North from Staten Island, through Bayonne, and into Jersey City along the Western edge of downtown, turning East at 14th Street to then go under the Hudson River.

Detailed maps

Click on the maps to see the detailed view.  We've done our best to note all points of interest, but if we missed something, please let us know.

Map 1 - Ward F
Caven Point / Pointe Liberty

Includes:

  • Caven Point Sports Complex
  • Tropicana (chemical storage)
  • Pointe Liberty
  • Liberty National Golf Course
  • United States Army Reserve
  • More ...

Spectra Community Impact - Map 1

Click on map to enlarge.

Map 2 - Ward E & Ward C Downtown - West,  The Heights

Includes:
  • Light rail
  • PATH
  • Liberty Science Center
  • playing fields
  • several schools, sports fields & playgrounds
  • Jersey City Medical Center (911 regional response)
  • More ...

Future development at risk by the pipeline: 

  • Future Development - 800 units at Philips Ave & Johnson Ave
  • Future Hotel - across from Liberty Science Center
  • Future Development - at Johnson Ave & Monitor
  • Future Development - at Merseles & 3rd St
  • Present Project - 44 condos at Merseles & 2nd St

Spectra Community Impact - Map 2

Click on map to enlarge.

Map 3 - Ward E & Ward C
Downtown - North,  The Heights, Newport

Includes:

  • Light rail
  • PATH
  • NJ Transit rail yard
  • Hoboken Terminal
  • Holland Tunnel
  • Newport Mall
  • several schools, sports fields & playgrounds
  • Christ Hospital
  • Target, A&P, Best Buy
  • More ...

Future development at risk by the pipeline:

  • Jersey Avenue Redevelopment Area between 14th St & 18th St projected to have 5,000 to 10,000 units within 20 years including:
  • North Newport - future development owned by LeFrak
  • Van Leer Project - 438 units
  • Statco Building (loft conversions)
  • LeFrak/Walsh/Lecerelli complex
  • Erie Lackawana - 2 million sq/ft

Spectra Community Impact - Map 3

Click on map to enlarge.

Why Here?

Spectra wants to route their pipeline through Jersey City for one reason:  profit.  Another, safer route had been considered – running it under New York Harbor – but Spectra is willing to put your safety, property and the future development of Jersey City at risk in order to maximize shareholder value. 

This fact reveals Spectra's claims of "safety first" a bald-faced lie – nothing more than a public relations ploy.  Profits first and then only as much safety to protect their stock price.  As soon as profits outpace projected damages from a catastrophe, Spectra considers the project a good idea.  We've seen it in the Gulf of Mexico with BP and we can't let that happen here.

Why Now?

Drilling in the Marcellus Shale

It has to do with what's going on in Pennsylvania – in an area known as the Marcellus Shale, the largest unfiltered water supply in the world – and a Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking is devastating the water supply and doing untold damage to the environment.

Spectra needs to deliver the supply, and what better market than New York City?

As revealed by "Gasland", a documentary appearing on HBO – claiming the Special Jury Prize at Sundance 2010, people are becoming sick as they are being poisoned through their tap water due the pollution caused by Fracking.

The (Bush administration) Energy Task Force and a $100,000,000 lobbying effort on behalf of the industry, were significant to the passing of "the Halliburton loop-hole" to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which authorizes gas oil and gas drillers exclusively, to injection of known hazardous materials directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.  It passed as a part of the Bush administration's Energy Policy Act of 2005.

- Gaslands, 2010

» Gasland documentary trailer
» Gasland filmmaker, Josh Fox, interviewed on The Daily Show
» Gasland website
» More about Fracking
» Buy Gasland on DVD

Eminent Domain: Legal Theft

Spectra has used eminent domain – granted by FERC – in Bedford County, Pennsylvania for the drilling and transport of natural gas.  The residents have documented their  against Spectra their website, SpectraEnergyWatch.com.

Special thanks to Spectra Energy Watch for revealing just how careless and cynical Spectra Energy truly is and advising us on our battle.

» Visit SpectraEnergyWatch.com
» Watch Eminent Domain video

Who is Spectra Energy?

Spectra a natural gas infrastructure company.  They build and operate pipelines and all that goes with that including storage. 

Their name is relatively new (2007), but they existed within Duke Energy prior to that and are comprised of the following businesses:  US Gas Transmission, Western Canada, Union Gas and DCP Midstream. 

Their transportation systems go under the five primary names:  Texas Eastern, Algonquin, East Tennessee, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and Gulfstream.  It's a confusing trail of aliases – but just remember that all these names mean one thing:  Spectra Energy.

Who is FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is a federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.

Is FERC the Wolf Guarding the Hen House?

FERC is an "independent" agency according to Wikipedia, as neither the president nor congress reviews FERC decisions  – it's left to the courts.  FERC is also self funding, taking a cut of the profits from the industry it regulates.  So, not only is there an amazing conflict of interest due to FERC's profit model, but any sort of objections by the people is reactionary – a process to be drawn out over years and take millions of dollars to fight in court.  It makes you wonder if these hearings are just a dog and pony show.

» More information about FERC on Wikipedia

Nora Brownell: Spectra Board Member was FERC Commissioner

In a classic case of the revolving door that often exists between regulatory agencies and the industries they regulate, this one hits close to home.  Nora Brownell was elected to Spectra's Board of Directors in May 2007.  Brownell was appointed as Commissioner of FERC by Bush & Cheney in 2001.  While at FERC, Brownell was an advocate of the development of regional transmission organizations, markets for wholesale power and national energy infrastracture development.

» More at politicalfriendster.com

James Kelliher: Industry Insider & FERC Commissioner

In 2005, Bush appointed James Kelliher as a commissioner at FERC.  He was a member of the highly secretive and controversial Energy Task Force ran by Dick Cheney which require a lawsuit to just to get a list of it's membership.

While a commissioner at FERC, Kelliher invited Enron to give input during a process which would help produce the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

According to an article in Counter Punch in June 2005:

... what's most troubling about Kelliher's appointment to head FERC, a role in which his main priority will now be to protect consumers from the manipulative tactics of the very industry he enjoys a cozy relationship with, is the relentless lobbying of bigwigs in the energy industry in early 2001, as a member of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force, to help write President Bush's National Energy Policy in such a way that would be financially beneficial to energy corporations-at the expense of consumers.

» Read the full article at CounterPunch.org

Cozy Relationships to the Industries it Oversees

Adding to the validity of our allegation are the findings of a report published in 2004 – during the ramp-up to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 – by The Center for Public Integrity.  While article is chiefly about liquefied natural gas (LNG), it does a great deal to illuminate how FERC and the gas industry share a cozy relationship.  It states:

After scores of private meetings with Big Oil giants such as ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is aggressively undermining the authority of state and local governments to reject dozens of proposed liquefied natural gas facilities all across the country.

... despite state and local opposition, FERC recently asserted its authority to unilaterally permit the construction and operation of LNG facilities ...

... The agency has even announced a "new regulatory approach" that "remove[d] economic and regulatory barriers to the development of onshore LNG import terminals."

These barriers they speak of?  This you and I fighting a proposed gas pipeline through the heart of our city.  This is our safety and the safety of our families.  This is other economic interests that aren't their own.

» Read the full report at The Center for Public Integrity

The relationship of FERC to the gas companies it overseas is the same as the Mineral Management Service's (MMS) relationship to the oil companies, and we all know how that's been going with the MMS tracing partying with companies it overseas.

» Big Oil's "Cozy Relationship" with Inspectors
» Sex, drugs alleged in oil deals

The FERC Process

FERC annoted process

Click on the flow chart to enlarge

Chart is annotated by © Carolyn Elefant 2010.

Brief overview of the FERC process from when we first heard about it until January 2011 when Spectra Energy expects to have their plans approved.  General dates/ranges are desired.

To the right is the FERC Environmental Assessment (EA) Review Process flow chart that was issued at the August 4th hearing.  Click on the chart to enlarge.

The environmental impact study will consider the following:

  • Geology & soil
  • Land use
  • Water resources, fisheries and wetlands
  • Vegetation and wildlife
  • Endangered & threatened species
  • Cultural resources
  • Air quality & noise
  • Socioeconomics
  • Public safety

 

What About the Dangers?

» Learn about the dangers of a pipeline running through your community

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