On March 2nd, Middletown Township Committeeman Gerry Scharfenberger proposed that the committee pass a resolution at its March 16th meeting to support the so-called Southern Reliability Link Pipeline (SRL). Scharfenberger admitted to having only cursory knowledge about the project and indicated that his only information source was an industry representative. How, then, could he feel he has enough information as a public official to support the project or ask other public officials to support it?
The SRL, a 30-inch high-pressure gas pipeline proposed by New Jersey Natural Gas, would run through Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean Counties parallel to an existing pipeline further north. It’s unlikely that the industry rep mentioned the risk of explosion, that the pipeline isn’t necessary – a solution in search of a problem – or that the end game is increasing overall capacity to maximize LNG exports, which would greatly increase the domestic price of natural gas due to higher prices on world markets. This prospect explains the company’s willingness to make the large capital investment, a burden that will be borne by New Jersey ratepayers.
It’s also unlikely that the industry rep mentioned that a direct impact will be the further expansion of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a highly pollutive form of natural gas extraction that poisons our air, land and water with hundreds of toxic chemicals and releases radioactivity and substantial quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
The township committee should explore renewable energy initiatives, not support unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure that endangers the public and exacerbates climate change.