After several months of preparation, crews installing the Bayonne portion of Spectra Energy’s natural gas pipeline lifted a portion into the Kill Van Kull, living up to a promise made to local officials to move the line out of residential areas.
Bayonne was the only town in Hudson County to give its blessing to the 5,400-foot pipeline, running from Staten Island through Bayonne and Jersey City into Manhattan.
Believing that the pipeline would receive federal approval despite their objections, Bayonne officials negotiated changes in the route that would allay concerns of local residents.
Bayonne City Business Administrator Steve Gallo said the city had concerns early on about the project but had worked out some of the concerns, most of which involved the proposed route through residential neighborhoods near the southern tip of Bayonne.
Bayonne officials asked for and received concessions from Spectra that included changes in the proposed route, placing the west-to-east route under the Kill Van Kull instead of at the southernmost tip of Bayonne near Staten Island. Company officials, Gallo said, agreed to relocate that portion of the line to the bottom of the Kill Van Kull, which will bring the line from west to east and make landfall again in the industrial portion of eastern Bayonne.
This resulted in more than $2.3 million in annual revenue to the city, as well as other perks.
The city will receive $1.1 million as a direct payment; $500,000 in payments for easements right away for the line; and $15,000 a month for additional leases.
The line will run out of Staten Island into Bayonne, then up into Jersey City near Hoboken, before turning east to access Manhattan.
Gallo said federal approval for the project made opposition to it futile, although the city had already obtained the necessary concessions from Spectra and dropped opposition prior to federal approval.
“Early on the administration initially took a stand that this was something we did not want to see in our community,” Gallo said. “We had serious concerns about it being located in a residential area. But Spectra came a long way since then, and once we learned that it would pass under the Kill Van Kull and not down the middle of First or Second Street we felt more comfortable.”
Gallo said that the technical improvement and the extensive monitoring of the line would assure public safety.
Meanwhile, Jersey City fought against the pipeline, arguing that its route through residential neighborhoods and transit infrastructure could endanger the lives of thousands of residents if there were a natural-gas explosion. The city pushed unsuccessfully to have the pipeline routed entirely under the Hudson River.
After the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Spectra’s pipeline project last May, Jersey City filed an appeal asking the agency to reconsider. This appeal was denied and the city filed its Petition for Review in December.
For Bayonne, the pipeline settlement will allow the city to upgrade its sports complex, a move the Bayonne City Council voted on at its March 20 meeting.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.