Interview with Agnes Marsala, president of Chesterfield, New Jersey’s People Over Pipelines, on the chaotic, never started, ultimately postponed permit meeting from August 22, 2016.
The meeting took place at a Ramada Inn, in a conference room having a capacity of 200 people. Approximately 50% was filled by a union, and speculation points to the oil company, Transunion, packing the room in an effort to prevent residents from entering, and to overwhelm genuine comments with “don’t take away my union job” comments. According to Agnes, the oil company is under no obligation for the next decade to pay full union wages, as they were grandfathered in with pay related decision. Some of the union personnel were surprised to learn this. There is also speculation that some union people were paid, and that a list of those attending and not attending was recorded for retaliation purposes.
The parking lot and conference room became so full that police had to intervene and start turning people away. The Ramada Inn reportedly refuses to host related meetings in the future.
According to Agnes, the postponement is a setback for the company, not necessarily a delaying tactic. Filling the room with union people, as well as renting a room that could only fit 200 people, despite that even larger turnout a previous meetings, both backfired.
Here is the original, eye-opening interview I did with People Over Pipelines in April.
From a Burlington County Times article:
A public hearing for a controversial natural gas compressor station was postponed Monday evening after hundreds of people showed up to participate, grossly exceeding the capacity of a hotel ballroom where the hearing was scheduled.
The hearing was for a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection wetlands permit sought by Williams Transco, an Oklahoma utility company that is planning to build the compressor station in Chesterfield, off Route 528, near the New Jersey Turnpike and Bordentown Township border, in order to feed a proposed pipeline through northern Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties. It was scheduled inside a ballroom at the Ramada Inn on Route 206, which has a capacity to hold 200 people.
More than triple that number turned out, according to some local officials. The crowd filled the parking lot and forced police to close off the ballroom entrance and turn away people at the hotel entrance..