Cape May freeholders support Pinelands pipe plan

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm •  Published: December 11, 2013

PEMBERTON, N.J. (AP) — Cape May County officials are backing a plan to build a natural gas pipeline through the protected Pinelands reserve to re-fuel an old coal-fired power plant.

Sort of.

The county's freeholder board passed a resolution Tuesday night in support of a plan by South Jersey Gas to build the 22-mile pipeline to connect with the BL England plant in Upper Township.

But board members also left themselves considerable wiggle room by adding a clause saying their support is for a pipeline plan that adheres to the state Pinelands Commission's management plan for the forested area. The proposed pipeline plan does not fully comply with those guidelines, which is why it has caused such a dispute between environmentalists, who oppose it, and construction workers and residents concerned about affordable, readily available energy.

South Jersey Gas says the pipe would go under or next to existing roads. But environmentalists say the work would still damage the fragile reserve of woods and wetlands that are protected by federal and state laws.

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