The Jersey City Board of Education is set to vote tonight on whether to accept a grant of a thousand dollars from Houston-based energy conglomerate Spectra Energy, the company bidding to extend a wholesale natural gas pipeline sixteen miles through Bayonne and Jersey City. This resolution appears on the board's agenda for its regular meeting:
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Jersey City Board of Education approves to accept a donation from Spectra Energy in the amount of $1,000.00 for Abraham Lincoln High School.
According to the board's website, the resolution was placed on the board's agenda by associate superintendent Ellen Ruane. A board member says the resolution was not listed on an agenda distributed at a committee meeting Tuesday night and was not mentioned by administrators until the board member brought the matter up.
The board of education passed a resolution opposing Spectra's proposal in 2010. That resolution was endorsed by Superintendent Charles Epps.
The pipeline is unanimously opposed by Jersey City officials—Mayor Healy and the entire City Council, as well as Jersey City Office of Emergency Management director W. Greg Kierce and the CEO of the Jersey City Medical Center. They all recognize the obvious danger of locating a volatile piece of infrastructure in one of America's densest urban counties, and are rightly questioning Spectra's glib attitude toward safety and security questions.
If Spectra is going to be compensating a school, it ought to first of all aim a little higher, and then direct its largesse to Ferris High School, next to which the pipeline—a main line pumping 950 million cubic feet of natural gas daily—would run through Jersey City. A thousand dollars isn't very much money for a company that paid more than $900 million in dividends in 2009, and likely will make hundreds of millions of dollars in the years after the pipeline goes online.