Jersey City: Spectra Natural Gas Pipeline Failure Would Be “Catastrophic”Jun 23rd, 2011 | By admin | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
A failure of the natural gas pipeline Spectra Energy is proposing to construct between New Jersey and New York City would produce costly and potentially lethal destruction of enormous magnitude, according to documents detailing a simulation of a pipeline incident obtained by NaturalGasWatch.org.
The simulation, created by the City of Jersey City’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security with the assistance of the New Jersey State Police Hazardous-Material Emergency Response Unit, modeled a pipeline failure in the area of Jersey City’s Hoboken Ave. and 18th St. under a number of physical and atmospheric conditions.
The researchers concluded that, “based on the stark reality of these scenarios, the inherent risk of the proposed land-based route of this pipeline should failure occur would result in casualties of catastrophic numbers and untold dollar amounts of property damage.”
The documents detailing the results of the simulation were part of a large package of materials filed with the federal Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 16 in connection with Spectra’s application to build a 30-inch pipeline that would deliver natural gas from the Marcellus Shale play through New Jersey to New York City.
FERC is the agency with jurisdiction in the pipeline siting. The agency is currently taking comments from stakeholders as it considers whether or not to allow the pipeline project to proceed.
Additional documents filed with FERC by Jersey City detail various neighborhood redevelopment plans, which the city contends Spectra ignored when they determined the location of the pipeline’s path; a report on the existing infrastructure in the areas affected by the pipeline; an engineering analysis exploring other, possible pipeline locations; and additional comments submitted by the city about the adverse affects the pipeline will have on the city should it be completed as it is currently configured.
The city’s primary concerns, according to the documents, are the possibility of a pipeline rupture and the impact the pipeline will have on redevelopment activities.
From the city’s comments:
Preliminary analysis on potential effects along the pipeline shows that a failure at any point of the trenched pipeline in Jersey City would have catastrophic effects. An extensive study should be required to be done in order to evaluate the consequence of a blast, accidental or otherwise, in Jersey City and along the NJ Turnpike Extension. As a major interceptor into Manhattan through all modes, on top of being a growing economic driver with a strong financial sector presence within close proximities to the proposed transmission line, Jersey City is tasked with multiple planning scenarios on several levels.
These safety concerns are compounded when dealing with proximity to existing infrastructure and adding an unknown dollar amount to new construction surrounding the pipeline to ensure it does not have an adverse affect on the transmission main thus creating an immeasurable amount of lost development potential that is currently zoned to those properties.
A FERC spokesperson said the agency has not yet issued a decision in the matter and would not say when the agency would do so.
“We don’t telegraph those things,” the spokesperson said.