(MAHWAH, NJ) – Ramapo College’s Masters in Sustainability Studies and Environmental Studies Programs is partnering with the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, the Ramapough Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Catskill Mountainkeeper to present a conference “Distributing Gas, Limiting Impact: Responding to the Proliferation of Pipeline Projects” on Thursday, May 2 in the Alumni Lounge on campus.
The conference is free and open to the public.
Participants will focus on the distribution of gas through an expanding network of pipelines connecting gas extraction regions to markets: coastal cities, new gas fired power plants and potential export terminals. The enlargement of pipelines and the addition of bigger and new metering and compressor stations have impacted numerous property owners, neighborhoods and communities in New Jersey and adjacent New York.
The conference will examine the big picture impacts of what is occurring, ranging from direct and indirect project impacts, questions of community participation, issues of monitoring and remediation and the steps needed to mitigate and address these consequences at the project, community, state and federal levels.
The schedule is:
8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Registration and Networking
9:00 to 9:15 a.m. Introduction by Professor Michael R. Edelstein Professor in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Programs and Director, Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College of NJ
9:15 to 10:45 a.m. Panel 1: Cumulative Impacts: A Highland's Snapshot Chair: Erica Van Auken, New Jersey Highlands Coalition
Ramapo College's Environmental Studies senior capstone Environmental Assessment class, organized as Ramapo Environmental Research Collaborative (RERC), has undertaken an environmental impact assessment of cumulative pipeline impacts in the Highlands region of New Jersey. Rather than addressing gas pipelines or line segments in isolation, this is a novel attempt to capture a comprehensive understanding of region-wide impacts. In this session, study findings are reported.
10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Panel 2: The Local Community: Impacts and Efforts Chair: Judith Sullivan, Esq. Ramapough Conservancy
Local activists have mobilized to address the intrusion of pipelines, compressor stations and similar infrastructure projects. Their experience represents an important test of citizen and community efficacy in the permitting process and confidence in the identification, mitigation and monitoring of impacts. This panel will explore the disconnect between the impacts identified in the FERC permitting process and those actually experienced in local communities. What is needed to improve the FERC Process and address local impacts of pipeline projects?
Chief Vincent Mann, Ramapough Lenape Nation: Disproportionate Impacts for Native People
Clare Donohue, Sane Energy: Urban prospective on pipeline infrastructure
Alex Lotorto, Energy Justice Network: Civil Disobedience and Opposition as a Response
Pramilla Malick, Stop MCS, Protect Orange County
Alison Shelofsky, Fight the Pipe:
12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Break Out Lunch
Conference participants will be directed to the Birch Tree Inn where they can purchase tickets for a buffet lunch (at $7.50 per ticket) or take the option to buy lunch from the Roadrunner cafe next door or to bring lunch. Networking opportunity. Possible break out clusters will be identified as an outcome of the morning's work.
1:15 to 2:45 p.m. Panel 3: Action at the State Level to Address Gas Distribution Impacts Chair: Julia Somers, Executive Director, New Jersey Highlands Coalition
This panel will explore what state level changes can be made to improve permitting decisions and to better regulate gas distribution projects by improving state review and oversight and by addressing the issues of need, climate impact and alternatives, principally green energy options.
Susan Kraham, Columbia University Law Clinic: State Environmental Quality Review Act
Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club: The 2011 NJ Energy Master Plan and Energy Infrastructure
Carl Richko, Highlands Council Member and Former Mayor of West Milford: Interstate Gas Projects from the State and Municipal Perspectives
Invited: Scott Brubaker, NJDEP:
2:45-4:15 p.m Panel 4: Action at the Federal Level to Address Gas Distribution Impacts Chair: Kate Millsaps, NJ Sierra Club
This panel will explore what changes can be made at the federal level to improve permitting decisions and better regulate gas distribution projects by improving review and oversight procedures.
BJ Schulte, esq, Jersey City Environmental Commission: Reforming FERC; Cumulative Impact Assessments & Ending Permit Segmentation
Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper Network: Regional Permitting Agencies
Lynda Farrell, Pipeline Safety Coalition
Invited: Carolyn Elefante
Invited: David Hanobic, FERC
Invited: Harriet Sugarman, ClimateMomma, linking to Climate 350.org’s "Fossil Freedom Day of Action"
Invited: Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan
4:15 to 5 p.m Summation and Closing Roundtable:
Chair: Ashwani Vasishth, Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Masters Program in Sustainability Studies, Ramapo College of NJ
Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D, Kate Millsaps, Erica Van Auken, Judith Sullivan, Esq.
If you plan to attend, please RSVP at http://pipelineconference.
Off-campus visitors are advised to stop at the North Entrance Security Booth for a parking pass, which can be requested in advance.
Partner organizations include Energy Justice Network, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Food and Water Watch, Pascack Sustainability Group, Transition Newton, North Jersey Pipeline Walkers, Franciscan Response to Fracking, ClimateMama, North Jersey Public Policy Network and Orange Environment, Inc.