Dear Princeton University Administration,
As students who live and work in Princeton, we wish to express our grave concern about the dangers posed by the construction of Compressor Station 206 and the entire Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. This natural gas compressor station and its related infrastructure poses a substantial risk to our own health and safety while providing virtually no benefit to New Jersey residents.
Williams Transco plans to build Station 206 within five miles from the University in Franklin Township, yet neither a complete environmental impact assessment nor a rigorous health impact assessment of air and water pollution from this compressor station has been performed by federal or state regulators. The draft environmental impact statements released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are severely inadequate. They rely only on estimated average emissions figures and modeling provided by the company building the station, instead of accurate, independent measurements from comparable facilities. Additionally, the DEIS only considers the impact of emissions within a quarter mile of proposed facilities, despite multiple peer-reviewed studies that show emissions plumes impact a radius at least five miles from the source.
FERC tests the station’s compliance against outdated standards that do not require measurement of pollutants at their source or account for the air quality impact on days of peak pollution. According to the estimates released by Williams-Transco itself, Compressor Station 206 will emit significant quantities of PM2.5 and various carcinogens, including formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia, which are widely understood to have adverse health effects on local residents. Despite these reports, FERC still neglected to independently study the health impacts of this project, choosing to allow this project to continue through the approval process without a full understanding of its consequences for the health and safety of our community.
The misrepresentation of the impact of this project on our air and water quality is troubling, but the risks do not end there. Williams Transco has a history of dodging regulations regarding emissions and safety procedures which has led to multiple fatal accidents in their facilities. Furthermore, the location of this plant is poorly planned: located near a quarry that frequently uses explosives and in a densely wooded area, the risk for a damaging forest fire is very high, and the surrounding townships do not have the resources to contain its spread. This project represents a clear threat to our public safety.
We urge the University to publicly release a statement in opposition to this project and call for an accurate health and environmental impact statement using up-to-date research and taking into account all affected areas. The University should utilize its political leverage to protect the health and safety of its students, employees, and wider community.
Sarah Helen Cho
Jack A. Edmondson
Bruno Aravena M.
Sam van der Jagt
Joshua Judd Porter
Hye Jee Kim
Kelly Van Baalen
Arjun Sai Krishnan