On Thursday August 9, 2019., PennEast resubmitted a permit application for their proposed pipeline to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. NJDEP previously rejected PennEast’s original filing in February 2018.
The reapplication was long overdue, in large part, due to strong community opposition and inability to gain access to impacted properties, which created setbacks for PennEast and resulted in significant delay to their planned timetable.
If NJDEP accepts this submission as being complete, which it hasn’t yet, then it will begin its scrutiny against NJ environmental policies and laws. HALT and its allies are confident that this proposed pipeline ultimately will not meet the strict standards and specifications required under New Jersey law. Likewise, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation believes that NJDEP will have all the evidence it needs to determine that this damaging project cannot meet the state’s stringent environmental regulations.
PennEast Sent an Inaccurate and Misleading Letter to Impacted Homeowners
As has been common behavior on PennEast’s part, a misleading letter was sent out to homeowners on Saturday, just one or two days after the application was sent to NJDEP. In that letter, PennEast told homeowners to send responses within 15 days of the date of the letter.
The strong implication that homeowners only had 15 days to respond was blatantly untrue, misleading and unprofessional on the part of PennEast.
PennEast’s shameful behavior, once again, contradicts PennEast’s repetitive PR claims of fair treatment, forthright communications and good relations with impacted homeowners.
Again, it is our understanding, that NJDEP hasn’t even formally acknowledged receipt of a complete application yet. Homeowners and their supporters will have more than adequate time to respond. In fact, NJDEP will provide a detailed process and timetable for public review including hearings.
HALT will verify it’s understanding of the review process with NJDEP officials and will inform its members, as soon as possible.
The PennEast Proposed Pipeline Remains FAR from being Accepted and Approved.
HALT reminds people of these essential facts:
- The application will be scrutinized against rigorous state requirements by the NJDEP and then the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). Again, we believe that there will be sufficient data to indicate that these requirements will not be met by PennEast. A denial would likely stop the pipeline from being built.
- The New Jersey Attorney General’s office has a case before the US Third Circuit Court urging it to undo the decision that allows PennEast to seize state-owned land including land on preserved farms. If won by NJ, this would likely to be a major setback for PennEast.
- Six appellants, including the state of NJ, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Homeowners Against Land Taking (HALT) have appealed FERC’s flawed certificate for PennEast in the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. This case is scheduled to be heard on October 4, in DC.
- HALT contends that FERC illegally issued a certificate that grants the right of eminent domain before required agencies made their decisions. PennEast should not have been allowed to take our land before it is known if the pipeline will be built. We contend that taking our land now denies us due process. If this case is won, the decision would likely be a death-blow for the PennEast proposal.
Actions for Homeowners and their Supporters
Over the next several days and weeks, HALT members and supporters will be notified of plans and specific actions they can take to express their views and demonstrate their support to ensure NJDEP and others deliver on their responsibilities.
Next Step — Attend 11 am Tuesday Press Conference
ReThink Energy is holding a press conference at the Watershed at 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ at 11 am on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. Several officials will be in attendance to express opposition to this pipeline. Please come show your support for our community and opposition to this project!
Next HALT Member Meeting is being organized – members will be informed of the date within the next few days.
As things continue to unfold, HALT is committed to ensuring that NJDEP does its job by having homeowner voices heard and by presenting on-the-ground data showing misrepresentations and missing information in the application. Gratefully, our homeowner group is supported by many federal, state and local government officials, community groups and environmental allies.
We will stay the course with facts and fervor!