Stoked by the San Bruno, CA, gas pipeline explosion in September and the anti-gas drilling film "Gasland" -- as well as general not-in-my-backyard sentiment -- Jersey City, NJ, officials are set to consider zoning changes intended to block a natural gas pipeline that Spectra Energy Corp. wants to build through their town.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy and members of the city's Municipal Council are on board with the effort to block Spectra's New Jersey-New York expansion of its Texas Eastern Transmission and Algonquin Gas Transmission systems. Last Saturday Healy and some council members joined the founders of NoGasPipeline.org for a local screening of "Gasland." A discussion of the Spectra project followed the film.

On Wednesday council members were set to consider 10 ordinances intended to block the Spectra project.

"We have repeatedly expressed our concerns about Spectra Energy running a high-pressure natural gas pipeline through our city, and what happened in San Bruno [see Daily GPI, Nov. 2] brings those fears to a new level," Healy said recently. "The incident in California claimed several lives, injured many, and leveled dozens of homes. If this type of explosion were to happen in a city our size, we cannot begin to comprehend the level of devastation, destruction and loss of life. It would be catastrophic."

According to Spectra, the expansion is needed to deliver gas supplies to the New Jersey and New York City areas. The project entails 16 miles of new pipeline and five miles of replacement line. It would have a capacity of 800 MMcf/d and be owned 100% by Spectra (see Daily GPI, Dec. 29, 2009). The project is slated to be completed in November 2013.

According to Healy's office, "the Spectra pipeline would cut through Jersey City's densely populated and historically significant neighborhoods of Greenville, Bergen-Lafayette and Downtown Jersey City. Not only would the pipeline greatly increase the risk to residents and their property values, but it would also run dangerously close to schools, hospitals, factories and residential neighborhoods."

Spectra spokeswoman Marylee Hanley told NGI the company is "committed to continuing conversations with city officials to listen to their concerns and to talk about various items such as the numerous safety measures we've built into the pipeline design, the benefits to Jersey City such as jobs and property tax relief and the general need for the pipeline."

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