Addiego: Decision Is a Triumph for Transparency
All three 8th District legislators voiced their support for a BPU decision rejecting a truncated approval schedule proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas for the construction of a natural gas pipeline routed through Burlington, Ocean, and Monmouth counties.
The proposal consisted of an accelerated schedule that is two months shorter than that proposed by the BPU, significantly cutting back on time for public participation in the process. The proposal was defeated in favor of the BPU’s proposed schedule, in a decision handed down by the board yesterday afternoon.
“This is the first step in what will hopefully be a transparent process that is open to public scrutiny,” said Senator Dawn Addiego. “The BPU has rightfully sided with the public and cast aside this egregious attempt to circumvent what is supposed to be an open and fair proceeding.”
The pipeline route has been subject of some controversy since its initial proposal. As planned, it would run down the center of multiple county roads, directly affecting businesses, residences, and infrastructure for the duration of project and beyond. The petition process proposed by the Board of Public Utilities creates a greater opportunity for participation by the various stakeholders that would face significant impacts along the route of the pipeline.
“Having already heard the concerns of many of the local residents who will be negatively affected by the construction of this pipeline,” stated Assemblyman Brown. “Common sense would dictate extending the review process to allow for a better public understanding of the project rather than shortening it.”
“We recognize that this project has the potential for a positive outcome- jobs, improved services, and increased stability,” said Assemblywoman Rodriguez-Gregg. “However, as public servants, we have a duty to ensure that the public gets a fair opportunity to educate themselves and participate in the process.”