Gibbstown Logistics Center - LNG & NGL exports proposed
Proposed LNG & NGL Export Facility, Repauno site, Gibbstown NJ: “Gibbstown Logistics Center”
Delaware River Partners, LLC is proposing to build a new deepwater port at 200 N. Repauno Avenue, in Gibbstown, Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, NJ on the Delaware River. Dubbed “Gibbstown Logistics Center”, the port would be located on the former Dupont explosives manufacturing site known as the Repauno Plant. The applicant wants to use the site to store and transport natural gas liquids that would be brought in by freight rail cars (rail exists on the site currently) from points west (including the Marcellus shale region in Pennsylvania), offloaded to tanks and an underground cavern located on site that was used for explosives by Dupont, and then shipped out through a new port located on the Delaware River federal navigation channel.
May 28, 2019, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network wrote a scathing letter to the federal and state regulatory agencies of the region for failing to disclose that Delaware River Partners was also seeking approval to use the site for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports. While obfuscating on the issue initially, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network's letter and press efforts resulted in the agencies finally publicly admitting the LNG goals for the site.
The site is under a cleanup order due to toxic contamination of groundwater from Dupont’s use of the property, shuttered about 20 years ago. The site was used for manufacturing and processing of highly dangerous materials and some of the chemicals used are still in the environment at dangerous levels, under a continuing order by NJDEP to pump and treat. This includes nitrobenzene, a highly toxic carcinogenic chemical and aniline, which is involved with the processing of benzene to make nitrobenzene. Toxic acids were also used in the nitrobenzene manufacturing process. Industrial diamond processing was also done and may have used chemical vapor deposition or other processes that are used to manufacture industrial and synthetic diamonds.
Many permits have been applied for by Delaware River Partners for the development of the Gibbstown Logistics Center. The company is also applying for and, in one instance has already received, site plan approvals from Greenwich Township for portions of the property to be used for warehouses and related activities. A copy of DRN’s letter to Greenwich Township Planning and Zoning Boards is below.
A group of residents organized in opposition to the project and appealed the municipal minor site plan approval: Concerned Citizens for the Redevelopment of the Repauno Site (CCRRS)
Copies of the comments submitted on the original NGL proposal can be found below.
As can the multiple and ongoing letters regarding the newsly exposed LNG export proposal for the site.
Numerous files were obtained by DRN through the Open Public Records Act in New Jersey and reviewed by DRN staff and consultants over several months. All records were also shared with colleague organizations and residents in New Jersey who are concerned about the development of the project.
Permits that were applied for to NJDEP include:
Permits that were applied for include:
- Coastal Wetlands permit 0807-16-0001.2-CSW160001 application 8/1/16 by CHEMOURS REPAUNO PLANT @ EI DUPONT DENEMOURS
- Individual Flood Hazard NJDEP # 0807-16-0001.2-FHA 160001
- FHA Verification NJDEP # 0807-16-0001.2-FHA 160002
- FWW 160001 FWIPW Individual permit
- FWW160002 WET Individual wetlands permit
- FWTW4R transition SAW redevelopment Special Activity Individual permit;
- IP Upland Individual permit/upland;
- NJDEP LOI # 0807‐16‐0001.1
- NJDEP Waterfront Development Individual Permit, Water Quality Certification comes with this permit
- NJDEP General Stormwater Permit
- Delaware River Basin Commission – original docket 2017, expansion docket for Dock 2 June 2019
- US Army Corps of Engineers
- Department of Energy
- US Coast Guard Letter of Recommendation
The exposure of the secret plan to export LNG from the Gibbstown Logistics Center resulted in a cascade of events and public outcry.
The Delaware River Basin Commission, despite strong opposition from the public, unanimously approved the permit for the Gibbstown Logistics Center on June 12, 2019. The vote was rushed through without any disclosure in the public notice that the terminal would handle LNG in addition to the other products at the terminal, which is currently under construction. DRBC hastily added a public hearing for the docket approval on June 6, where the DRBC verbally admitted LNG was a planned cargo. DRN’s comment to DRBC is provided below.
NJDEP had issued a Waterfront Development permit but had to rescind it on June 5 due to inadequate public notice. The draft permit also approved the Water Quality Certificate. Open for a brief 15 days of comment, which closed June 20, organizations submitted comment against the permit, which did not acknowledge or assess the LNG plans for the project. It is revealed in the application that New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is the “lead agency” for the project, providing proof that the state knew about the LNG plans in 2017 but did not disclose that publicly. Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s comment to NJDEP is provided below.
The “Letter of Intent” submitted by Delaware River Partners seeking approval by the Coast Guard for the export of LNG is now out of date as it only references one berth and the application approved by DRBC as well as other currently proposed permits regarding the project is for two new berths at the expanded dock. Also, the amounts of LNG (and natural gas liquids – known as “Liquefied Hazardous Gas”) contained in the application are no longer accurate because the capacity of shipping would greatly increase at the terminal if the two new berths (to be contained at an additional dock - Dock 2) are approved by New Jersey under a state Waterfront Development Permit. The NJ draft permit states that 37 shipping events per year would export the LNG and LHG overseas for sale. The “Letter of Intent” is provided below.
DRN has submitted comments on the expansion of the Gibbstown Logistics Center for what they call “Dock 2”. The second dock is proposed to have two ship berths, tripling the number of berths available for docking by ships. DRN has sent letters to the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and all agencies that are considering permits, as discussed above. The letters are provided below.
EMPOWER NJ, a coalition of New Jersey organizations who are working for a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects and the development of clean., renewable energy sources has taken on the Gibbstown Logistics Center as one of the projects the coalition is fighting. Organizations from throughout the region, including Delaware and Pennsylvania, have joined the opposition to turning the Delaware River into an export port for LNG and are dedicated to fighting the Gibbstown Logistics Center.
A community public meeting will be held in Gibbstown at the public library on July 10, 2019 to share information and work with local residents and groups. See DRN’s calendar page and home page for the action alert and other action items regarding the project.
President Trump issued an Executive Order in April, 2019 for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to approve rail cars for LNG transport within 13 months. Two months later, PHMSA proposes a “Special Permit” for rail cars to carry LNG, with an environmental assessment that is open for public comment until July 8. The application was filed by Energy Transfer Solutions, a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy. The proposal to rail LNG is being driven by New Fortress Energy’s plans to export LNG overseas from Gibbstown Logistics Center. A sign-on letter prepared by Physicians for Social Responsibility is calling for another 90 days for public comment. This is being shared widely.
The PHMSA Docket with the proposed Special Permit and EA for the LNG by rail is here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=PHMSA-2019-0100-0001
This rush to approval is not only reckless but also will launch a whole new highly dangerous means of transporting LNG over land to terminals that plan to export, where companies can get a lot more return for their buck, the public’s safety and the environment be damned. The new “market” means more pollution and destruction from increased fracking, more fracked gas processing plants like the LNG liquefaction plant New Fortress Energy wants to build in Wyalusing Twp., Bradford County, more greenhouse gas emissions and climate crises, more devastating health impacts from the shale gas frenzy and more communities exposed to the dangers of fire and explosion from derailments and accidents.
Also, an appropriations bill amendment was approved by U.S. House of Rep. on June 24 to block the Secretary of Transportation from approving the permit New Fortress wants for the LNG rail car approval. See https://www.freightwaves.com/news/us-house-votes-to-block-rail-tank-cars-of-lng
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed a new rulemaking that would allow Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to be carried in rail tank cars on the nation’s railways. The rulemaking is in direct response to an Executive Order by President Trump to make it legal to carry LNG by rail across the U.S., which is not allowed at this time. The proposal does not require specially designed tank cars to transport the highly flammable and super-cooled LNG but proposes to simply allow current DOT-113 cars to be used without any new safety testing or changes. There are many other problems with this reckless proposal that will endanger communities along train routes across the nation that are similar to the issues presented by the proposed Special Permit 20534 application made in PHMSA Docket 2019-0100. You can read DRN’s comment on that permit proposal here. That permit was requested by ETS Logistics company, New Fortress Energy’s subsidiary that is planning to build a processing plant for LNG in Wyalusing Twp., Bradford County, PA and rail the LNG to Gloucester County, NJ on the Delaware River where they are proposing to export it from the Gibbstown Logistics Center (hundreds of miles) overseas for sale. DRN issued an action alert with more info and submitted a comment against the rulemaking by the deadline of December 23, 2019. You can read the proposal and submit comment directly to PHMSA here. PHMSA extended the comment period deadline to Jan. 13, 2020.
DRN’s action alert on the reckless proposal to transport PNG by rail in 50-year-old design rail cars with no new operational controls required is at this link and can be easily shared.
Also, here is an update on the Gibbstown Logistics Center proposed export terminal, as of December 17, 2019:
There are more than a dozen permits that are needed for the project; two permits have been granted. The first was by the Delaware River Basin Commission, despite strong opposition from the public, on June 12, 2019. Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) filed a hearing request legally challenging the approval and the DRBC voted to grant the Request. A Hearing will be set in the coming weeks. NJ Department of Environmental Protection approved the Waterfront Development Permit and the Water Quality Certificate for Dock 2 in September. Delaware Riverkeeper Network appealed the permit in October, court proceedings will occur over the coming months. Several key federal permits and approvals are needed in order for the project to proceed.
Currently, the local community is opposing the truck traffic that is plaguing Gibbstown every day as the site is readied for the use of Dock 1. EMPOWER NJ has held public forums about the proposed LNG terminal to inform the region of the project; the next forum is in February in Chester, PA. EMPOWER NJ is committed to opposing the project as a dangerous and polluting fossil fuel project that should not be approved by NJDEP, that violates clean and renewable energy goals and does not advance a green economy for the state