BL England

There is no longer a need for a South Jersey Gas pipeline to the B.L. England electric plant in Beesleys Point, after the plant owner said in court papers Wednesday it no longer plans to repower the facility.

PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP — The Pinelands Commission has notified South Jersey Gas its approval to build a pipeline from Maurice River Township to Upper Township is void, now that the B.L. England electric plant will not repower with natural gas.

“We sent a letter to South Jersey Gas saying, ‘Hi, because of the fact that B.L. England is no longer part of the application, as far as we are concerned, the application is no longer valid,’” Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg said at Friday’s commission meeting.

A South Jersey Gas representative was unavailable for comment Saturday.

Wittenberg said a lawsuit against the pipeline by environmental groups is still proceeding.

“Our court date has been pushed back to June. We have to remain vigilant because RC Holdings can sell this plant to another natural gas power company,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, one of the groups suing to stop the pipeline. “South Jersey Gas can also come back with another application. That’s why it is so critical that Gov. Murphy move ahead with new appointments to the Pinelands Commission and place a moratorium on all fossil-fuel infrastructure projects.”

Commissioners said they would discuss the litigation, and motions filed in the case, during closed session.

South Jersey Gas has said there is still a need for a new pipeline to provide a second route for gas to get to about 140,000 customers in Cape May and parts of Atlantic County, now served by only one transmission line.

But Wittenberg’s letter made it clear SJ Gas will need to make a new application for any new or amended project through the Pinelands.

The proposed 22-mile SJ Gas pipeline would have traveled through 10 miles of protected Pinelands forest area, where it would have been buried along roadsides.

Wittenberg also said Commissioner Giuseppe “Joe” Chila, who was appointed a commissioner in 2016, had to resign after being elected surrogate in Gloucester County, as a court ruled he cannot hold both positions.

He will be replaced as Gloucester County commissioner by Dan Christie, who could not be at the meeting Friday because of a death in the family, Wittenberg said.

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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