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Deadline for Comments to DRBC re LNG Export at Gibbstown

TAKE NOTICE! The written public comment process regarding the Gibbstown LNG export terminal has been changed by DRBC! Please note that Delaware Riverkeeper Network will no longer be submitting your comments to the DRBC web portal. Instead, we will collect all comments submitted through our action alert starting April 14, 2020, submitting them after the close of the public comment on April 24 to the Commissioners of the DRBC at a future date. The Commissioners can vote to accept or reject the Hearing Officer’s recommendation, making the final decision about the proposed project’s approval.

Why are we changing how we submit these comments? Because DRBC has upended the written comment process by now making written comments submitted April 14 through to the end of the comment period on April 24 subject to examination and cross-examination by the attorneys for Delaware River Partners - the builders of the Gibbstown LNG Terminal - and Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is concerned that this change, which could allow a commenter to be brought up for examination in an adversarial setting at the adjudicatory hearing, will intimidate potential commenters concerned about the Gibbstown LNG facility due to the uncertainty of the process and the threat of cross-examination. That’s why we are collecting comments for the Commissioners, bypassing the administrative hearing.

So, you can still speak directly to the DRBC Commissioners about the proposed LNG terminal by writing a comment with a click and we will collect these to hand in to the ultimate deciders – the Governors of the 4 states (NJ, PA, NY, DE) that make up the Delaware River Watershed and the federal representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those who do want to submit comment that could result in being questioned at the adjudicatory hearing can still do so directly to the DRBC’s portal.

Comment period open through April 24

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has re-opened the public comment record on the Gibbstown Logistics Center proposal to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from a to-be-constructed Dock at the Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, NJ deepwater port. The comment period closes April 24.

The approval that was given by DRBC is being legally contested by Delaware Riverkeeper Network, leading to an adjudicatory hearing and the re-opening of the record for written public comments. The permit was unfairly rushed through with practically no opportunity for the public to know about the project, much less comment on it. Rather than flying under the radar, news about this terrible plan has spread and DRBC has received the message that the public won’t be ignored. Now another public comment period has been opened to hear what you have to say. Please take a few minutes to write to DRBC to oppose their approval and tell them NO LNG at Gibbstown! We don’t want the Delaware River to be a conduit for fracked gas export!

Since we exposed the plans for the proposed LNG export dock after investigations into the project in June 2019 when DRBC approved the project’s permit, opposition has grown. As more has been learned about the dangerous handling of LNG that Delaware River Partners and New Fortress Energy are planning at the terminal, people have united to stop this massive accident-waiting-to-happen.

You can use the sample letter below to help write your own comment. You may submit directly to the DRBC or use our webform provided at the bottom of the page.

Here are some Talking Points if you want to write your own comment.

  • Air pollution from activities at the site, including truck traffic, diesel equipment, venting of LNG and NGL, has not been publicly discussed, nor have the impacts of flaring off gas and/or the construction and operation of a proposed “small capacity” natural gas liquefier on site.
  • The climate crisis will be worsened by the development of fracked gas that the project would require to be extracted in the Marcellus Shale region of PA and the emissions released when LNG is produced and then burned as fuel. Natural gas is more than 95% methane; methane is 86 times more potent than carbon in warming the atmosphere on a 20-year time scale and 104 times more potent on a 10-year time. If we don’t reduce methane emissions by 45% to 50% by 2030, the planet will reach tipping points that will make it impossible to avoid climate catastrophe. Fracking pollutes and ruined public health and the environment everywhere it occurs. Development of this polluting fossil fuel is over; we need renewable, truly clean energy.
  • The Dock would provide 2 additonal shipping berths, adding to the one dock already approved for non-LNG cargo. That would triple the potential activity at the facility, greatly increasing ship traffic. Each year 100 ship vessels at Dock 1; 37 LNG ships at Dock 2; total: 137 ships on the river.
  • Over 1,650 trucks trips each day would bring LNG and natural gas liquids (NGL) to the terminal. The total “daily trips” of all traffic is estimated at 8,450 to/from the site. The proposed Rt. 44 Bypass has not even started construction, would take a year or more to build. Currently trucks, at times one per minute, are cutting through residential neighborhoods in Gibbstown to construct Dock 1 and raise hundreds of acres out of the flood hazard area with imported fill.
  • Would require dredging of 45 acres of river, impacting water quality; fish, aquatic life, and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species; river vegetation; and other river uses.
  • Train traffic to Gibbstown Logistics Center would carry NGL and eventually LNG. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently approved a “Special Permit” for rail cars to carry LNG (designed 50 years ago and not proven safe for LNG), from Bradford County, PA (distance: over 200 miles) across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and into Gibbstown; unit trains of up to 100 cars would be allowed. Nationally, there is a ban on using rail cars for transporting LNG because it is so dangerous but PHMSA rulemaking is being considered to allow it nationwide as well. Documents do not disclose how much NGL will be moved by rail, which is allowed under current regulations, but the volume will increase since the facility would expand.
  • Would “transload” LNG round the clock directly from trucks or rail cars onto shipping vessels, each ship taking 10-15 days to fill, a much extended loading period that greatly increases the opportunity for accidents and spills. Other LNG facilities typically load ships in one day to minimize risk.
  • NGL, classified by PHMSA as “liquefied hazardous gas” (LHG) would be unloaded from a 20-railcar rack to be stored in tanks and in the underground cavern. It would be loaded by a pipeline from storage to the ship at one of the berths for sale overseas.

Sample Letter:

Re: DOCKET NO. D-2017-009-2 , DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION , Delaware River Partners LLC, Gibbstown Logistics Center, Dock 2 , Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey

I oppose the DRBC’s approval of the Gibbstown Logistics Center’s proposal for a terminal, known as Dock 2, to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in ships on the Delaware River. I consider the proposal contrary to DRBC’s role of protector of the water resources of the Delaware River. The key aspects of this project are still publicly unknown; what we do know is that the project is extremely dangerous, will inflict substantial environmental harm, and is a liability for local communities, the region, and the Delaware River, estuary and watersheds. DRBC must deny approval to protect our water and the river’s irreplaceable resources.

My specific concerns are many and include:

  • The handling and transloading of LNG from trucks and/or rail cars onto ships docked at the two berths exposes people, workers, and the environment to irrational and unacceptable danger, including the risk of spills, fire, and explosion.These threats to safety and health simply can’t be justified by a company cutting corners to pad their bottom line.
  • The backyards of Gibbstown homes adjoin the terminal property; a day care center, athletic fields, public parks, are right up against the site. thers in NJ and nearby PA, are within the potential impact zone should there be an incident. Pennsylvanians don’t have any say in the project; most people don’t even know about it.
  • Devastating environmental impacts include the dredging of 45 acres of river, harm to fish, aquatic life, and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, and damage to river ecosystems. Operation of the project will release dangerous air emissions and threaten water quality.
  • New Fortress Energy, owner of the site, says they will use both trucks and rail to transport LNG to the terminal from a LNG processing plant they are building in Wyalusing Twp., Bradford Co., PA over 200 miles away. Applications say
  • A “Special Permit” was given by the federal government to the company to transport LNG in rail cars that were designed 50 years ago and not proven safe for LNG, a new kind of “bomb train” due to LNG’s properties that can cause a deadly cloud, an inextinguishable fire, or a powerful explosion. The trains, up to 100 cars, would travel over 200 miles from Bradford County, PA through communities across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and into Gibbstown on the river.
  • Ships carrying millions of gallons of flammable hazardous LNG and NGL will endanger communities up and down the Delaware River, Estuary and Bay. In years past, the import of LNG by ship on the Delaware River was defeated, considered too dangerous and economically harmful to other business concerns. Other shipping vessels will pass within a few hundred yards of the docks.
  • Climate change impacts are being fueled by methane emissions from fracked gas. The extraction of shale gas, LNG processing, transport and burning releases methane that loads the atmosphere with this most potent greenhouse gas. The public health and environment burdens of fracked regions are unconscionable and can no longer be tolerated. We need renewable, truly clean energy, not LNG.

Friday, April 24, 2020 - 05:00 PM