Jersey City Pipeline Provokes Heated Debate

By Ida Siegal
|  Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011  |  Updated 8:24 AM EDT
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20 miles of pipeline that would extend from <a title=New Jersey to New York brought a hundred people out to a Jersey City city council caucus Tuesday evening. Spectra Energy - the company proposing to build the natural gas pipeline - presented it's plan and took questions from council members. The primary question: can the company guarantee the pipeline is safe? "A failure in any area of Jersey City would be catastrophic," said Councilman Michael Sottolano. "It's just not an area where that type of risk should be taken." Council members point to the deadly gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno California last year as evidence of the danger involved. San Bruno is much less densly population that Jersey City which inhabits 120,000 people per square mile. Ed Gonzalez, Project Director from Spectra Energy insists the company has gone above and beyond what's required of it to ensure safety. "This will be one of the safest pipelines built in the United States," said Gonzalez. The pipeline would run for 20 miles from Bayonne, New Jersey to Jersey City, under the Hudson River and then into Manhattan. It would be situated 60 feet below ground with a more durable piping material that's twice as thick as the pipe that exploded in San Bruno. Union workers are for the project, including Jimmy Black from Local 825. "With this economy today we need to put guys to work... I'd put this in the backyard any day. You'd put the pipe in your back yard? Yeah." But a number of councilmembers and residents are not convinced and fear not only an accident, but a terrorist attack. "They can say its not a terrorist target. They can say they're not worried about terrorism. We live here. We're concerned about terrorism," Said Councilman Ray Velasquez. But the Jersey City Council does not have the ultimate say. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to make a decision by the end of the year." />

20 miles of pipeline that would extend from New Jersey to New York brought a hundred people out to a Jersey City city council caucus Tuesday evening. Spectra Energy - the company proposing to build the natural gas pipeline - presented it's plan and took questions from council members. The primary question: can the company guarantee the pipeline is safe? "A failure in any area of Jersey City would be catastrophic," said Councilman Michael Sottolano. "It's just not an area where that type of risk should be taken." Council members point to the deadly gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno California last year as evidence of the danger involved. San Bruno is much less densly population that Jersey City which inhabits 120,000 people per square mile. Ed Gonzalez, Project Director from Spectra Energy insists the company has gone above and beyond what's required of it to ensure safety. "This will be one of the safest pipelines built in the United States," said Gonzalez. The pipeline would run for 20 miles from Bayonne, New Jersey to Jersey City, under the Hudson River and then into Manhattan. It would be situated 60 feet below ground with a more durable piping material that's twice as thick as the pipe that exploded in San Bruno. Union workers are for the project, including Jimmy Black from Local 825. "With this economy today we need to put guys to work... I'd put this in the backyard any day. You'd put the pipe in your back yard? Yeah." But a number of councilmembers and residents are not convinced and fear not only an accident, but a terrorist attack. "They can say its not a terrorist target. They can say they're not worried about terrorism. We live here. We're concerned about terrorism," Said Councilman Ray Velasquez. But the Jersey City Council does not have the ultimate say. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

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Twenty miles of pipeline that would extend from New Jersey to New York brought a hundred people out to a Jersey City city council caucus Tuesday evening.

Spectra Energy - the company proposing to build the natural gas pipeline - presented its plan and took questions from council members.  The primary question: Can the company guarantee the pipeline is safe?

"A failure in any area of Jersey City would be catastrophic," said Councilman Michael Sottolano.  "It's just not an area where that type of risk should be taken."

Councilmembers point to the deadly gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno California last year as evidence of the danger involved.  San Bruno is much less densly population that Jersey City which inhabits 120,000 people per square mile.

Ed Gonzalez, Project Director from Spectra Energy insists the company has gone above and beyond what's required of it to ensure safety.

"This will be one of the safest pipelines built in the United States,"  said Gonzalez.

The pipeline would run for 20 miles from Bayonne, N.J., to Jersey City, under the Hudson River and then into Manhattan.  It would be situated 60 feet below ground with a more durable piping material that's twice as thick as the pipe that exploded in San Bruno. 

Union workers are for the project, including Jimmy Black from Local 825.

"With this economy today we need to put guys to work... I'd put this in the backyard any day.  You'd put the pipe in your back yard? Yeah."

But a number of councilmembers and residents are not convinced and fear not only an accident, but a terrorist attack.

"They can say its not a terrorist target.  They can say they're not worried about terrorism.  We live here.  We're concerned about terrorism,"  said Councilman Ray Velasquez.

But the Jersey City Council does not have the ultimate say.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

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