In the past month pipeline companies have been busy in our area while FERC was distracted with its coal/nuke subsidy fight with the Department of Energy and the Trump Administration. In particular, NJR has been moving forward with its potential “Plan B” alternative to PennEast, the Adelphia Gateway project. And Texas Eastern is also charging forward with the Lambertville East project, a proposed upgrade of the compressor station on Rt. 179 in West Amwell.
First up, the NJR/Adelphia Gateway project (fully owned by New Jersey Resources) stealth-filed with FERC on Friday January 12th. There were no press releases or announcements, just a new docket popped up on the FERC site (which I found while developing a “new docket” scraping feature for Ferkee over the weekend).
The new docket is CP18-46-000. The full application along with resource reports is here:
Based on Adelphia’s documentation, the project is a bit more than the “no environmental impact” they’ve been touting to people to date. Several laterals are proposed, along with new compressor stations and 8 blow down assemblies.
Most interesting to me – the identity of the project’s subscribers is not revealed anywhere in the public portion of the application. Earlier NJR/Adelphia indicated that their open season got twice the proposed capacity – they proposed 250,000 dekatherms a day, and got bids for 500,000. But we have no idea who bid.
In the application they say that the precedent agreements are still being worked on and will be filed with FERC. But those likely will be filed as a “privileged” information, which you need to sign an NDA with Adelphia to see. It seems NJR/Adelphia is trying to hide who the subscribers really are.
Why would they do that?
One theory is that the subscribers may be companies like Elizabethtown Gas, South Jersey Gas, UGI, and New Jersey Natural Gas. Those names may ring a bell to you.
There will be comments on the docket demanding that the open season bidder identities be made public on the docket so we can see if this is another case of self-dealing, or if this pipeline project is a PennEast clone and constitutes over building (or, alternatively, PennEast’s owners believing their effort is doomed and doing this as a “Plan B” effort).
Either way, those following PennEast should be concerned about this as well. In particular, imagine a worse case scenario where both NJR/Adelphia and PennEast get approved, with very similar pipeline routes paralleling each other and similar customers. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Everybody interested in this should get moving and intervene on the Adelphia docket. And hurry. All signs indicate that NJR/Adelphia is trying to get this fast tracked. They stealth-applied, and they indicate in the application they want to be approved and up and running this year.
Texas Eastern Lambertville East Project
Then there’s the Lambertville East project. It’s FERC docket is CP18-26-000. The full application along with resource reports is available here:
This project may end up being a good thing for the area (with emphasis on may). The current compressors are old, the area smells of gas all the time when you’re anywhere near the vicinity, and apparently emits dangerously high levels of noxious substances. The new compressors, while bigger, may be safer and emit less.
But – we need to look closely here. I’d like to convince them to use electric compressors instead of natural gas, which will eliminate local emissions entirely and make the compressor station a much better neighbor to the poor people in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of West Amwell. It’s also damn close to West Amwell Elementary and the Hunterdon South Branch library.
Also it’s possible Texas Eastern is up-playing some benefits and not talking about potential drawbacks. We need to dive into the application in detail to see what’s being proposed here, and what the impacts really will be.
People should intervene on this docket as well to ensure their voices are heard.
On both matters I mention people and townships and groups who are in any way concerned or impacted by these two projects should intervene. This is really important. We’ve learned through PennEast and other projects that FERC only listens to and responds to intervenors on the Commission’s dockets. Other non-intervenors are “welcome to comment” by FERC, but those comments seem to basically go into the circular file.
By intervening on a docket, you ensure that FERC has to listen to you and has to respond to your concerns. While we may not like how FERC responds, making them work for it and make the effort is far better than being totally ignored.