As expected, FERC rubber-stamped the application for the PennEast Pipeline by granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessityon January 19. HALT, an organization that represents both impacted homeowners and concerned citizens, will not stand idle as private property is threatened and our water, trees, and environment are endangered for an unneeded and harmful pipeline.
HALT will now intensify its legal fight and political efforts at both the federal and state levels. HALT will begin its legal efforts by requesting rehearing of FERC’s decision on grounds meant to help all impacted homeowners. We will be aided by the dissenting opinion of newly appointed FERC Commissioner Richard Glick, who stated, “I do not believe that the Commission’s order properly concludes that the PennEast Project is needed.” We agree. However, his view was over-ridden by the other 4 commissioners. HALT, along with our many allies, will challenge FERC’s decision on various grounds.
While HALT is challenging FERC’s decision at the federal level, it will be bolstering its efforts with other agencies. It is important for homeowners to remember that the pipeline still has to meet all of the regulatory requirements of other agencies before the project can be constructed. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), and the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) each have the power to stop this project. HALT will step-up its efforts to represent the concerns of homeowners with these agencies.
PennEast will use FERC’s Certificate to initiate eminent domain proceedings against scores of property owners. This will further mobilize the communities and homeowners along the proposed route who already strongly oppose the pipeline. PennEast’s goal will be to get on private property as quickly as possible, in order to survey it. However, their representatives need proper documentation of their legal authority to come onto people’s land. If the people working for PennEast do not have the required court orders, then they are trespassing and the police should be notified.
Many individual homeowners will be contesting the taking of their land through their own legal representation. HALT is committed to finding ways to support these individuals. Anne Marie Garti, who is representing HALT, will be attending our member meeting on Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 pm at Prallsville Mills. Anne Marie is the attorney who helped homeowners defeat the Constitution Pipeline in New York State. Please join us!
HALT will continue to meet with decision-makers to present the real impacts of this project with the voice of the people who are directly impacted by their decisions. Now, we have an environmentally friendly and receptive governor to listen to our concerns.
The real fight has just begun!