May 8, 2013

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Needs Public Engagement on Pipeline’s Impact

To the Editor:

In response to the article “Town Releases Documents on Transco Pipeline, Citizen Group Is Formed,” (Town Topics, May 1, page 1), the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is pleased that Princeton has responded affirmatively to disclosing the maps and other information on the proposed pipeline expansion. The maps were disclosed as a direct result of the Watershed Association filing a formal request under the Open Public Records Act.

Now that we and other like-minded organizations have copies of the proposed plans, we can better evaluate the proposal’s environmental and community impact. We have concerns about a proposed expansion that would dissect streams in nine different locations and would have a major impact on water quality and habitats. We are committed to working with concerned citizens and other organizations to address the effect on the community and environment. In our evaluations of the plans, we will be developing recommendations for alternative solutions that would minimize the effects, and restoration proposals where impact cannot be avoided.

The time for concerned citizens to review the proposed plans and make comments is now. Once Transco finalizes their applications to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), there will be minimal opportunities for public input. FERC is expected to hold a hearing within approximately a month to ‘scope out’ potential issues with regard to Transco’s proposal. It is essential that citizens attend and voice their concerns. The Watershed Association will publicize the hearing information when it becomes available. We will continue to work hard to be your voice for your water and environment, but we also need public engagement.

Jennifer M. Coffey

Policy Director,

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association