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Ramapo College to Host Conference Examining Impact of Gas Pipelines Thursday, May 2

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 30, 2013

(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?

Panelists include:

  • 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.

Panelists include:

  • 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.

Panelists include:

  • 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’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

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.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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