Pipeline would help reliability, environment

South Jersey Gas’ proposed pipeline from Cumberland County to Cape May County is vitally needed for two primary reasons: It would reinforce natural gas service to over 142,000 customers and help the environment by replacing coal at the B.L. England generating plant.

Repowering the power plant with natural gas would drastically reduce harmful air pollution, reinforce electric reliability and reduce electricity congestion in the region. Also, required and very costly electric transmission system improvements will be avoided when the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant is retired in 2019.

The route chosen by S.J. Gas from among eight analyzed was found by the state Department of Environmental Protection to be the least environmentally intrusive. In fact, 20 miles of the 22-mile route is within existing cleared right-of-way, with the remaining 2 miles within Atlantic City Electric’s existing power line corridor. And all 10 miles through the pinelands forest area would be beneath existing pavement or cleared roadway shoulders.

The company has been seeking necessary approvals to build this pipeline since 2012. The state Board of Public Utilities, the DEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have all approved the proposed pipeline route. Only the Pinelands Commission has yet to grant its required approval.

It’s high time we speak out in favor of this important improvement to our region, and for the pipeline to receive final approval to proceed.

RICHARD JACKSON

Executive director

NJ Energy Coalition

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