Delaware River Basin Commission Approves South Jersey LNG Terminal Permit Extension

The Delaware River Basin Commission on Thursday approved a three-year license extension for a controversial project to build New Jersey’s first terminal for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the Delaware River.

The extended permit gives Delaware River Partners, a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy, until June 2025 to build a dock on the Delaware River in Gibbstown, Gloucester County.

The terminal project, which involves dredging a portion of the Delaware River, will allow the company to transport LNG by truck and/or rail along the Delaware River from Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to Gibbstown, and export overseas gas. Delaware River Partners is still seeking approval from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to extend a separate permit that allows them to transport LNG by rail.

The construction of an LNG terminal in South Jersey has sparked concern from environmental and civic groups, as well as locals, who say the export of LNG would pollute the air and water and could destroy homes in case of explosion.

More than 100,000 signatures against the project have been submitted to the DRBC, according to environmental advocacy group Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The group appealed the project in 2019, but DRBC commissioners gave final approval for the project in December 2020. Following a second DRN appeal, the case is now in federal court pending a decision. decision.

The commission’s executive director, Steve Tambini, already approved the extension of Delaware River Partners’ expired license in June. Delaware Riverkeeper Network deputy director Tracy Carluccio said her group only found out about the permit extension approval after filing a public records request. After objections from the DRN, Tambini asked the commissioners for a final decision on Thursday.

Commissioners voted 4 to 1 in favor of extending the permit, with New York State abstaining. The DRBC oversees water use and quality in the Delaware watershed, including ensuring there is enough drinking water for more than 15 million people in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The agency is made up of the governors of these four states and the commander of the North Atlantic Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers, who represents the federal government.

Carluccio argues that permits can only be extended if substantial funds have been spent on a project. Delaware River Partners spent at least $1.8 million of the estimated $113 million price tag. Carluccio also said the public was not given a chance to comment.

“This is no way to run an agency to let the public know about a license extension – especially for a project as controversial and publicly opposed as the Gibbstown LNG export terminal – by the access to information request,” Carluccio said. “The public has a right to know about the projects and has a right to have a say in the projects that will impact their lives, and this one will.”

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