PennEast has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to receive a certificate of convenience and necessity that if issued will give PennEast the right to use Eminent Domain. This process is outlined in the Natural Gas Act of 1930.
The application process requires PennEast and FERC, among other things to comply with, to follow National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA Act Sec.101 [42 USC 4331]. This congressional act was passed to protect the environment for succeeding generations, assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, and aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings; attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences.
The NEPA process requires PennEast to survey the entire proposed route to document all construction impacts to wetlands, streams, rare and threatened species including vegetation and wild life species, historical and cultural impacts, socio-economic issues, geological features, soils, land use impacts, and air and noise impacts. PennEast also needs access to every property to determine exactly where and how it can build its pipeline through each property.
Carla Kelly Mackey of Delaware Township said se witnessed surveyors trespassing when she was driving home recently. “The surveyors were beyond the legal ROW and when I came down the road, but they quickly jumped out of our feild and onto the shoulder,” said Carla”
To date over 70% of the properties in New Jersey have denied survey access to PennEast and its land agents. When you deny survey access to PennEast, the application process is delayed causing gaps in the application and creating delays and difficulties for PennEast. When the majority of homeowners denying survey access or rescind survey access they send a loud message to FERC about the public opposition.
HALT has a Deny Survey Letter available to all homeowners to send to PennEast and FERC. Many homeowners have already sent a Deny Survey access Letter to PennEast and their land agents and posted a copy letter to the FERC PennEast docket.
Beware of Claims by Land Agents
Many homeowners have reported that PennEast’s land agents have told them they should cooperate and allow surveys because if they do not then the PennEast pipeline could go through their house or damage their property. There have been reports that PennEast has told homeowners that once it sites its FERC application it will be more difficult to adjust its route to avoid unnecessary property damage.
FACT: As long as you have not signed an easement agreement with PennEast or given permission for survey activity on your property:
- PennEast currently does not have any rights regarding your property.
- Neither PennEast nor any of the land agents sub-contracted by PennEast can enter your property without permission.
- PennEast has continuing legal obligations to limit the damage it causes that do not expire.
- PennEast has repeatedly and significantly revised its proposed route since filing its FERC application.
Trespassing is the legal term for the situation in which one person enters onto the land of another without permission or other legal right to be there.
“I had my second incident with surveyor trespass,” said Robert Rader Wednesday of last week on Old River Road in Holland Township. “When I told them they were trespassing they got a little mouthy and would not move their equipment. I advised them I was going to move the equipment so they called the Holland Township Police Officer over, who was on duty there, and he advised them to stay on the blacktop.”
If your property is within the boundaries of the potential path of PennEast and you do not want anyone associated with PennEast to enter your property for any reason, you should consider:
- Post “No Trespassing” signs on you property.
- Send a “Deny Survey” letter to PennEast and post your letter to the FERC Docket
NOTE: Even if you do not take these steps, PennEast may not enter you property without your permission.
- If you find people on your property who do not belong there you should report the incident to the police and make sure the police file a police report.
- If the people entering you property are associated with PennEast you can also post a letter of complaint to the FERC Docket.
- Email a copy of all trespassing incidents with all documentation such as police reports, letters, and photos to Info@HALTPennEast.org
PennEast Pipeline surveyors illegally trespassed at Muddy Run Preserve, which is off limits to surveying activities. In response, The Hunterdon Land Trust sent a cease and desist letter to PennEast.
HALT PennEast is committed to collecting incident reports with all documentation for all trespass incidents involving PennEast or any sub-contractor or potential subcontractor of PennEast.
This does not constitute legal advice nor does it create any attorney client privilege