Merchantville Votes to Oppose Gibbstown Fracked Gas Terminal

Vote makes Merchantville the ninth municipality to oppose fracking export plan

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Climate and Energy

The Borough Council of Merchantville passed a resolution on October 25 opposing a plan by New Fortress Energy to build a massive liquefied natural gas export terminal in Gibbstown, Gloucester County.

The Merchantville resolution calls on Governor Murphy to reject permits needed to load highly explosive and polluting LNG onto ships for export out of Gibbstown, and calls on the Army Corps of Engineers to complete an environmental impact statement on the project. This week’s vote is the ninth resolution to pass opposing the project.

“I was proud to support our Green Team’s efforts to educate the public on the dangers of New Fortress Energy’s plan to transport LNG through our local neighborhoods…[and] of our Council’s unanimous vote to adopt a resolution in opposition to this plan,” said Councilwoman Maria Nina Scarpa. “Our constituents sent us a clear message that not only are they opposed to the transport of LNG but also disappointed that there is consideration of massive investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure. As one resident said, ‘How can we allow this when we should be taking action to secure a clean energy future for our children?’”’

The proposed export terminal would be part of a massive new fracked gas infrastructure buildout in the region. The full scope of the project would involve supercooling gas extracted in Pennsylvania into liquefied natural gas (LNG), a highly volatile substance, and shipping it by truck and train nearly 200 miles to Gibbstown for export.

While the planned shipping routes have not been disclosed to the public, rail routes would almost certainly pass within 2 miles of Merchantville, as well as densely-populated urban areas in North Philadelphia and Camden. LNG is exceptionally dangerous: if ignited, it can burn in a fire too hot to extinguish. An LNG explosion at a Washington plant in 2014 led to emergency evacuation of a two-mile radius.

“Twenty five residents showed up at Merchantville’s October 25th Borough Council meeting to support a resolution put forth by the town’s Green Team in opposition to the New Frontier Energy’s plan to transport massive quantities of LNG via rail and highway in South Jersey,” said Merchantville resident and Green Team member Dorothy Foley, who was one of the seven people who testified in support of the resolution. She added that they were “horrified at the foolhardy and dangerous plan to transport LNG but more than anything…the overall environmental impact of allowing this huge investment in fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when all efforts should be into transitioning away from carbon fuels.” 

The Merchantville Green Team also voted to pass a similar resolution within their group joining many other Environmental groups, church groups and New Jersey municipalities which have passed resolutions calling on the governor and the Army Corps to reject the project. 

“Merchantville’s unanimous choice to vote against the Gibbstown LNG terminal is part of a growing effort throughout New Jersey to stop this dangerous project in its tracks,” said Food & Water Watch organizer Noa Gordon-Guterman. “Merchantville elected officials and residents sent a clear message to Governor Murphy, Biden and the Army Corps: We do not want the Gibbstown terminal or any new Fossil Fuel infrastructure in our communities. This project would expose thousands of South Jersey residents to the fatal and lasting risks of explosive Liquified Natural gas every day and exacerbate already worsening effects of climate change. Governor Murphy and President Biden must prioritize the health and safety of New Jersey residents.”

So far, resolutions against the project have passed in Princeton, Pennsauken, Runnemede, Haddon Township, Riverton, Hazlet, Burlington City, and Merchantville.