Southern Reliability Link Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
Southern Reliability Link Pipeline, also called the Pinelands Pipeline, is a proposed natural gas pipeline in New Jersey.
The pipeline will run from Ocean County through Burlington County and Monmouth County, New Jersey.
- Owner: New Jersey Resources
- Proposed capacity: 280 million cubic feet per day
- Length: 48.3 kilometers / 30 miles
- Status: Construction
- Start Year: 2020
The pipeline project is awaiting approval from the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. The expected cost is $130 million. The 30-mile project will begin in Chesterfield and continue through North Hanover, Upper Freehold, Plumsted and then into NJNG's exisiting system. A map of the route is provided below.
As of January 2019, pipeline construction had begun.
New Jersey environmental officials are expected to either approve or disapprove of several require permits for the proposed pipeline, the results of which will have significant impact on the viability of the pipeline.
In June 2020, drilling work was halted after an accident led to drilling mud leaking into a nearby stream and damaging a house in Monmouth County. The house had to be evacuated. The incident occurred in Upper Freehold Township, where a crew was doing horizontal drilling.
Protestors continue to challenge the pipeline on the ground, including activists from the New Jersey Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action, Environment New Jersey and other concerned residents. In May of 2019, many of these organizations and individual activists gathered on Route 70 in Manchester to protest against the pipeline.
Despite a pending court challenge brought by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, the New Jersey Sierra Club, and local townships, New Jersey Natural Gas decided to begin construction on the project in parts of Ocean County, including through parts of the 1-million-acre Pinelands National Preserve.
Those who oppose the pipeline have asked the Burlington County Board of Freeholders to stop the project by denying the pipeline a permit to build along its county roads.
As of June 2020, a lawsuit to overturn the pipeline's approvals by the Board of Public Utilities and Pinelands Commission was pending in the Appellate Division of State Superior Court after being filed jointly by the New Jersey Sierra Club, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the Burlington County townships of Bordentown and Chesterfield.
In July 2020, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) suspended the pipeline's Freshwater Wetlands permit after a series of construction accidents led to the condemnation of a home along the pipeline route. However, in November 2020 the DEP decided to reinstate the Freshwater Wetlands permit, allowing developers to resume pipeline construction. The Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) and the New Jersey Sierra Club condemned the decision.
Environmental groups and other opponents say the project would stir up tons of highly polluted sediment and reverse decades of difficult environmental improvements in Raritan Bay, which has been struggling with pollution.
Articles and resources
- Planned Pipelines, Pipeline News, accessed October 2018
- National Energy and Petrochemical Map , FracTracker, February 28, 2020
- Southern Reliability Link, Empower New Jersey, accessed February 202-
- New Jersey Natural Gas, The Route, accessed October 2018
- Russ Zimmer, Construction starts on Pinelands pipeline, Phil Murphy silent, .app, January 3, 2019
- Wayne Parry, Gas pipeline: DEP decision due on $1B proposal, .app, June 4, 2019
- Steve Strunsky, Drilling work halted on natural gas pipeline after mishap damages N.J. couple’s house, NJ.com, June 21, 2019
- Jean Mikle, Activists still battling Pinelands pipeline even as work begins, .app, May 6, 2019
- Tom Johnson, ‘GREEN’ COALITION ASKS BURLINGTON FREEHOLDERS TO BLOCK SRL PIPELINE, New Jersey Spotlight, July 23, 2019
- Tom Johnson, Environmental Groups Denounce SRL Drilling Continuation, Insider New Jersey, November 15, 2020