PennEast abandoned plans to use its eminent domain power to acquire state-owned land for a 116-mile pipeline.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals was told this week that New Jersey has reached an agreement in principle with PennEast to drop the conviction of 42 state properties for the controversial pipeline.
The announcement comes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of PennEast in June, saying New Jersey was not protected by sovereign immunity given the project’s federal approval. Opponents of the project have vowed to continue their fight.
“PennEast claims they are not giving up on the project, but actions speak louder than words, and this decision clearly suggests the polluting pipeline will not happen,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign manager for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ, in a statement. “The news that PennEast will not go ahead trying to doom state lands for developing an unnecessary fossil gas pipeline is a huge and welcome development. We applaud the Murphy administration for successfully defending and preserving our public lands for future generations. “
“The PennEast Pipeline Project is designed to meet the growing energy needs of the United States, and in particular southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Patricia Kornick, spokesperson for PennEast, in a statement. “Natural gas is essential to ensure that energy remains affordable. and reliable as we shift our supplies to low-carbon sources.
“The State of New Jersey is a landowner. Given the uncertainty over the timing of resolving the remaining legal and regulatory hurdles, PennEast believes that it is not prudent to finalize the acquisition of rights of way in outstanding shares, as this may not be the order of the day. case. necessary for a while, “Kornick continued.” PennEast is exploring with lawyers representing landowners the idea of dismissing the actions without prejudice and relaunching legal proceedings once it clears regulatory hurdles and has a better understanding when he will have to acquire the interests of the property. .
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United States Representative Tom Malinowski, DN.J., who represents Hunterdon County, welcomed the news that PennEast is withdrawing from attempts to seize state-owned land to build the pipeline.
“This important development is a major victory for the environment and for our coalition of landowners, elected officials and militant groups opposed to the pipeline,” he said in a statement. “I thank the Murphy administration for their efforts and will continue to use all the tools at my disposal to ensure, once and for all, that this pipeline is never built.”
PennEast dropped similar conviction lawsuits to seize land in Pennsylvania in August.
The proposed pipeline would start in Luzerne County, Pa., Cross the Delaware River north of Milford, then follow the river through western Hunterdon County before terminating at Transco’s transcontinental pipeline near Pennington in County of Mercer.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted in 2018 to allow the project to go ahead by granting PennEast a Certificate of Public Benefit. However, lawsuits and online petitions followed. Officials argued that the pipeline would have adverse effects on the environment, especially waterways and the flow of clean water to homes and farms.
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Suzanne Russell is a late-breaking reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, the courts and other chaos. To get unlimited access, please register or activate your digital account today.