Friday, November 12, 2010

Jersey City aims to stymie proposed Spectra pipeline with ordinance

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Jersey City's City Council is set to introduce ten ordinances amending the city code to specifically prohibit natural gas pipelines in certain redevelopment zones.
"Natural gas pipelines are an unwanted use in the area," each modification reads.
The ordinances are a response to the proposal by Houston-based Spectra Energy to expand a high-volume wholesale natural gas pipeline from Staten Island 16 miles through Bayonne and Jersey City.
The proposed pipeline would roughly follow the path of the Turnpike Extension through Jersey City before turning east near 18th Street to run under the Hudson River to a Con Edison plant on Manhattan's West Side.
The ordinances would amend current laws to prohibit natural gas pipelines in 10 redevelopment zones along the proposed route.
The ordinances also include small changes to procedures for reviewing building plans in the zones.
The council has already passed a resolution stating its official opposition to the Spectra proposal, and the city administration is strongly opposed to the plan.
Under federal law, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is granted sole authority to approve or deny permits for interstate natural gas transportation infrastructure. If FERC grants Spectra a permit to build the pipeline, under the Natural Gas Act of 1978 the commission is entitled to invoke eminent domain against property owners unwilling to yield property to the pipeline's right-of-way, likely trumping actions like hose being taken by the City Council.
But city officials say that by formally stating that the pipeline is contrary to the city's redevelopment agenda, the ordinances would create a record of opposition to the pipeline by the council and planning officials that could benefit future litigation.

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