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Delaware Headlines

Eastern Shore Natural Gas pipeline expansion approved by Sussex Planning and Zoning

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The expansion of a natural gas facility in Bridgeville has cleared one hurdle but now faces another.

The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved the proposed pipeline capacity expansion at Eastern Shore Natural Gas’ Bridgeville facility.

The plan has faced criticism by community members and environmental advocates like Food and Water Watch Delaware, a group that fights for safe food, clean water and a livable climate for First State residents.

Greg Layton is an organizer with Food and Water Watch Delaware, “I was disappointed in the motion. They stated that there would be no detrimental effects on the projects’ neighbors. And I strongly disagree with that assertion. The project would be within 330 feet of a home, 1,100 feet from a playground and 1,300 feet from a school.”

ESNG has previously argued those distances are safe since the gas is only offloaded and not treated or processed.

Layton went on to say, “I think this is an environmental justice issue. The people who live within a mile of this proposed facility are significantly more likely to be people of color than the average person in Sussex County - a third of them are low-income and a third of them are 65 years of age and older.”

He says it doesn’t seem to him to be an accident that this sort of “dangerous” facility would be allowed in such a vulnerable community.

The project still needs the approval of the Sussex County Council. The earliest the Council could debate the project is this Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Layton notes the project also needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He says Food and Water Watch Delaware will continue to oppose this project at all levels.