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Proposed Natural Gas Compressor Station Puts Enviros, Union at Odds

Lines are drawn in Franklin Township clash over preventing pollution, creating jobs

Natural gas supplier Williams Transco says locating a compressor station in Franklin Township would help meet the growing demand for natural gas in the Northeast.

But about 100 environmental activists gathered at Franklin High School to protest the plan.

The rally took place just 30 minutes before the state Department of Environmental Protection held a public hearing on the proposal to build a 32,000-horsepower compressor that would supply natural gas to the township and to consumers in New York. The plan calls for 23 miles of pipeline that would run through Raritan Bay to Long Island.

Activists say they’ve seen firsthand the impact a compressor station and pipeline project has had on other communities.

“That Old Bridge compressor station is also a Transco project,” said Junior Romero, organizer with Food and Water Watch New Jersey. “The same people who want to build this dirty and dangerous project here in Franklin Township. You can look at that community. That community has higher rates of respiratory diseases, they have higher rates of cancer, and we think it’s because of this compressor station.”

But union representatives disagree. They believe the compressor station is in lockstep with Gov. Phil Murphy’s energy master plan to slowly move to clean energy.

“The trend is going to be solar and wind. We support that. We build that,” said Ciro Scalera, director of government relations for the New Jersey Laborers Union. “But you can’t switch to that overnight, and you have to maintain what exists in order that there’s a smooth transition over the next 10, 15, 20 years. It’s a $240 million investment. It’s 2,400 jobs.”

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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