Groups Hold Protest Against SRL Pipeline in Ocean County

Friday, May 3, 2019
srl pipeline construction

Clean Water Action, the New Jersey Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Environment New Jersey and concerned residents are protesting against NJNG’s Southern Reliability Link (SRL) pipeline. They will demonstrate on ground zero in Ocean County where construction of the SRL has already started.  

“Governor Murphy has said he wants to protect the Pinelands, undo the mistakes of the Christie era, and get to 100% clean energy. Any of these is reason enough to reverse the State’s legal position and oppose this pipeline. Combined they’re a perfect trifecta for saying no more fossil fuel infrastructure. Instead we have to raise the question what is really going on here?”said Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director of Clean Water Action.

The Southern Reliability Link is a 28-mile gas pipeline that could destroy environmentally sensitive land in the Pinelands and threaten communities along the route in Burlington, Ocean, and Monmouth Counties.  It would pass near homes, schools, and even forests prone to fires.

"Despite his continued green rhetoric Governor Murphy is allowing major fossil fuel expansion projects like the SRL pipeline to move forward under his watch.  Right now, NJ Natural Gas is tearing through the treasured Pinelands Reserve for an unnecessary fracked-gas pipeline that will lock New Jersey into decades of increased dirty energy dependence,” said Matt Smith, Senior Organizer at Food & Water Watch. “The Governor has a small but closing window of opportunity to halt the harm and change course towards a livable climate future by declaring a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion projects.”

The project would cut through the ecologically-sensitive Pinelands and threaten one of the largest sources of fresh drinking water on the east coast. The Pinelands is the largest open space on the eastern seaboard and recognized for its biodiversity by the United Nations. It is also the country’s first National Reserve and holds 17 trillion gallons of water in its aquifer. When the Pinelands Act was passed forty years ago, one of the major reasons was to prevent pipelines coming through to connect offshore oil to refineries in south Jersey.

“NJNG has been out there digging up people’s lawn in neighborhoods of Ocean and Burlington County and in environmentally sensitive and scenic areas of the Pinelands in Manchester. They are building at their own risk while risking public safety and the environment. What’s even worse is that if we are able to stop this pipeline, taxpayers will have to bear the cost of taking it out,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The SRL pipeline is completely unnecessary. The Murphy Administration needs to step up and protect public safety and the environment by stopping this pipeline!”

NJNG is building at their own risk while risking public safety and the environment.  If the pipeline is stopped, taxpayers will have to bear the cost of taking it out. NJNG should be prohibited from beginning any construction on their pipeline until the entire project is approved.

"The New Jersey Pinelands is a precious ecosystem that is at risk because of a Christie-era pipeline that was rubber stamped by Christie appointees on the Pinelands Commission. And the communities that surround the Pines are being upended by another fossil fuel infrastructure project," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. "But the worst thing about this project is that its under litigation and New Jersey Natural Gas is thumbing their nose at the judicial process and pre-emptively building this pipeline. This is a clear moment of truth for the Murphy Administration to weigh in with a stay to stop this destruction of our towns & ecosystem."

Amy Goldsmith