Saturday, September 10, 2022

WHYY: Environmentalists Decry DRBC Permit Extension Approval For LNG Natural Gas Terminal In South Jersey To Export PA Natural Gas

By Zoe Read, WHYY, with Jon Hurdle of NJ Spotlight contributing

This article first appeared on September 9, 2022--

The Delaware River Basin Commission on Thursday approved a three-year permit extension for a controversial project to build New Jersey’s first terminal for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the Delaware River.

Four commissioners [including Pennsylvania] voted in favor of the permit extension, with New York state abstaining. The DRBC oversees water use and quality in the Delaware watershed, including ensuring there’s enough clean drinking water for more than 15 million people in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The extended permit gives Delaware River Partners, an affiliate of New Fortress Energy, until June 2025 to build a dock on the Delaware River in Gibbstown, Gloucester County.

The terminal project, which involves dredging a portion of the Delaware River, will enable the company to transport LNG by truck and/or rail along the Delaware River from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale to Gibbstown, and export gas overseas. 

Delaware River Partners is still seeking approval from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to extend a separate permit that allows them to transport LNG by rail.

“The processing of LNG requires inducing or increasing the fracking of gas from wells in Pennsylvania, and as a result of that, we’re exposing communities to human health harms,” Carluccio said, “and we’re exposing the environment to continued devastation from, not only methane being released into the atmosphere and increasing global warming, but also the dangers of the toxic materials used in the fracking process.”

She adds that she fears more applications for the transport of LNG will be filed – there is another proposal for an export terminal in Chester [Delaware County].

Click Here to read the entire article.

More Reaction

The Delaware RiverKeeper Network, Berks Gas Truth, Damascus Citizens For Sustainability and Environment New Jersey issued this statement after the permit extension voted by the Delaware River Basin Commission--

Today the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to approve the extension of the permit to Delaware River Partners for the proposed Gibbstown Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Project on the Delaware River (Docket No. D-2017-009-2), located in Gloucester County NJ (the “Dock 2 Project”). 

The approval had been given covertly and unilaterally in June by the Executive Director Steve Tambini and was ratified publicly today by a majority vote of the DRBC Commissioners.

Previously undisclosed, Mr. Tambini’s approval was discovered by Delaware Riverkeeper Network through its Freedom of Information Act request. 

The revelation set off a series of letters and submissions from representatives of the Delaware River LNG Coalition demanding the approval be rescinded, that there be full public disclosure, that a public hearing be held, and that any final determination be voted on by the DRBC Commissioners.

The Commission took up the matter under the General Counsel Ken Warren’s report at their September 8 Business Meeting, approving a resolution that rubber stamped Mr. Tambini’s approval. 

Ken Kosinski, acting for New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, proposed a resolution to delay the vote until after a duly noticed public process but the motion died for lack of a second. New York also stated they have deep concerns about the LNG export terminal for environmental and climate reasons and asked fellow Commissioners to consider these serious issues. 

There was no opportunity for public comment before the vote and the resolution was not made public prior to the meeting (DRBC says it will be posted on their website by tomorrow).

The motion to approve was made by the federal Commissioner from the Army Corps of Engineers, representing President Biden, and was seconded by the representative for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. 

New York abstained; all others voted to approve. 

Inexplicably, Governor Murphy stated publicly after the vote to approve the LNG Dock in 2020 that said he would do all he could to “prevent the use of this dock for LNG transport” yet his representative seconded the motion and voted for approval.

          After the DRBC Business Meeting was adjourned, a customary 1-hour public comment session was held. 

Commenters blasted the Commission and expressed deep disappointment in the approval of the permit extension and the shutting out of the public from the highly consequential and much-opposed decision, both due to an unfair process and because many stated the extension was unjustified and did not meet the requirements in DRBC’s rules for allowing a permit to be extended. 

The Dock 2 project has not been constructed yet and the amount invested by owners DRP is only 1.9% of the total cost of the project, not a “substantial” amount, as the rules require.

QUOTES from members of the public and representatives of organizations regarding the Gibbstown Dock 2 permit extension approval:

“The DRBC’s quiet approval of the Gibbstown LNG permit extension behind closed doors not only violates public trust and governmental transparency, it also goes against the guidelines laid out in New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by supporting the fossil fuel industry’s behind-the-scenes dealings in toxic oil and gas,” said Ivo Kennedy, Catskill Mountainkeeper.

"I wish the DRBC would measure substantial environmental damage and climate impact on the same yardstick they measure substantial expenditure," said Karen Feridun, Founder, Berks Gas Truth.

“The Commissioners’ vote to grant more time for New Fortress’ dangerous and unnecessary polluting scheme is both disappointing and undemocratic. This is a moment when our global climate crisis requires a swift transition away from a fossil fuels economy and investment in clean energy, not deeper entrenchment in it. To add insult to injury, the commissioners refused to grant an additional public hearing to discuss this permit – one more gift to a company that has tried its best to shield its intentions from public scrutiny,” said Noa Gordon-Guterman, Food and Water Watch.

“The serious environmental and community impacts associated with the Gibbstown Logistics Center warrant a public hearing and analysis of the developers’ request for the Dock 2 extension—one that is fully open to the public, not just to environmental groups who were able to object only because we happened to learn of this request through the Freedom of Information Act. I thank the Alternate Commissioner for New York for recognizing the concerns associated with this project, but this result is extremely disappointing,” said Sahana Rao, Natural Resources Defense Council.

“DRBC in voting to block public input with a behind the scenes extension of the expansion of Dock 2 is not what should be. The PUBLIC can be a ‘bother’ but we are why DRBC exists - for maintenance of our health and welfare!” said B. Arrindell, Director, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.

“Today’s approval by the DRBC of the permit extension for the Gibbstown LNG export dock was unjustified on the merits and a disgraceful throwback to the shameful days when decisions were not made by substantive and public review but behind closed doors where the facts are not shared transparently and secret backroom deals are simply given an obligatory nod to legitimate them. New York proposed a public process but not one other Commissioner supported it, so the approval of the 3-year extension ended up being a rubber stamp of an approval by Executive Director Tambini, which no one would have known about if Delaware Riverkeeper Network hadn’t filed a FOIA. This is no way to run a public agency!” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“DRBC’s decision to extend the approval for DRP’s Dock 2 Gibbstown permit – and skip a public hearing – ignores both the intense public interest in this project and twists DRBC’s own rules to allow a controversial fossil fuel project not to face renewed public scrutiny. We thank New York’s call for a public hearing and we are disappointed with the vote by DRBC Commissioners, including NJ's representative, to block public input on this huge issue facing the Delaware River watershed,” said Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey.

"It’s madness to extend the dangerous Gibbstown LNG project in the middle of a climate crisis and undemocratic without a public hearing. This vote proves all the talk by Governor Murphy and the DRBC about climate change is just more Hot Air,” said Environmental Activist Jeff Tittel, retired NJ Sierra Club director.

“Save for NY who stood up for the people, the commission knows what it did today was nothing short of a backdoor deal and grave injustice of the simple principal of public process that the public gets a say in what affects them,” said Anneke van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“The level of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere locks us into a rise in sea- level that is extremely detrimental to communities and businesses on our coastal lands and river banks. It is indefensible for the DRBC to facilitate projects that can involve major leakage of methane into the air, because methane is the most powerful greenhouse gas emitted from fossil fuel use and it will contribute to sea-level rise for centuries to come,” said Coralie Pryde, League of Women Voters of Delaware.

“In conflict of climate, water quality, and public engagement concerns, the decision to extend the permit for the Gibbstown LNG Dock 2 is appalling. The public comment session at today's business meeting after the vote was cast only adds insult to injury,” said Eric Benson, Clean Water Action.

Click Here for a copy of the full statement.

(Map: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers,


-- WHYY: Environmentalists Decry DRBC Permit Extension Approval For LNG Natural Gas Terminal In South Jersey To Export PA Natural Gas

Related Articles This Week:

-- Explainer: So Why Does A Susquehanna County Gas Company Have To Raise Rates 33.2% When Susquehanna County Is The #1 Shale Gas Producer In PA?  [PaEN]

-- Conventional Oil & Natural Gas Companies Accelerating Pace Of Abandoning Wells Without Plugging Them Threatening To Put PA’s Taxpayer-Funded Well Plugging Program Even Further Behind  [PaEN]

-- Exceptional Value Water Quality Designation, State Forest Land, River Honors Were Not Enough To Protect Loyalsock Creek From Natural Gas Drilling & Pipelines In Lycoming County - By Friends Of The 'Sock   [PaEN]

-- Natural Gas, Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Are NOT Required To Carry Insurance Or Show They Can Pay For Damages If They Explode, Leak Or Kill Someone  [PaEN]

-- Center For Coalfield Justice Hosts Oct. 5 In-Person, Virtual Public Meeting On PA Health Studies Of Natural Gas Development In Southwest PA  [PaEN]

-- House Environmental Committee To Hold Sept. 20 ‘Wellhead To Stovetop’ Hearing On Natural Gas In PA; Will They Mention $70 Million In Pipeline Penalties Assessed So Far?  [PaEN]

-- DEP Public Notices: Oil & Gas Industry Facilities Sept. 10 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

-- New Book Edited By Researchers From 3 Pittsburgh Universities Now Available On The Environmental Impacts From The Development Of Unconventional Oil & Gas Reserves  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 10, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner