NEWS



Request for Homeowners to Submit a Comment to FERC–May 5th, 2020

REQUEST FOR HOMEOWNERS TO SUBMIT A COMMENT TO FERC

This could be a rare opportunity to have FERC act upon the mis-information and lack of credibility demonstrated by PennEast. PennEast is in a dire position, which is why they have proposed a two-phase approach to building their un-needed pipeline.

Mike Spille has done a very thorough and focused job writing to FERC about PennEast’s increasing lack of economic rationale for the pipeline. Two PennEast investor companies are reneging on their prior commitments to buy gas from PennEast in Phase 1. The situation is exacerbated by the demise of the natural gas market, much like the oil market.

Will FERC act honestly and hold PennEast to the requirements for building a pipeline? Here is our best chance to test FERC. As you might know Congress is putting pressure on FERC to start taking into consideration the rights of homeowners.

Mike has written the below message, and he and HALT are requesting our members to reinforce Mike’s letter to FERC by submitting the same or similar message (feel free to customize) to the FERC website. 

To submit a comment to FERC go to: https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx

Note: Anyone can submit a comment to FERC you don’t have to be registered with FERC.

  • Search for Docket Number: CP20-47 and click on Select
  • Copy and paste the comment into the section provided (feel free to customize)
  • Click on Send Comment

Word link for the below comment: https://thecostofthepipeline.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/ugiandnjrphase1withdrawal.docx

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PennEast’s refusal to document the business goals of its precedent agreements for the Phase 1 project should not be allowed to stand. Actions of some of PennEast’s affiliate companies offers evidence that what PennEast has portrayed regarding these self-dealing agreements is either false or suspect, at best. Accordingly, we respectfully and strongly request that FERC delve into these open questions which may invalidate or significantly weaken PennEast’s stated purpose and need.

Specifically, two PennEast affiliated companies, UGI Energy Services and NJR Energy Services, have refused to sign onto portions of Phase 1 of this project, even though they are fully within the area the project purports to serve in Pennsylvania. This is peculiar and of particular concern given that 48% of the proposed Phase 1 pipeline has no contracts and will likely be empty.

Huge projects such as these should not be allowed to move forward when the only benefit is enriching the project owners and their subsidiaries. This is especially true when PennEast has filed 48 eminent domain condemnation suits in Pennsylvania for Phase 1 of this project, and a devastating 150 eminent domain condemnation suits in New Jersey for Phase 2. In NJ, eminent domain takings represent a full 50% of the PennEast route.

The partial withdrawal of UGI Energy Services from Phase 1, and the total withdrawal of NJR Energy Services from Phase 1 as well, is a smoking gun that proves that demand for this project has utterly collapsed. Even PennEast’s owners have lost faith in it. FERC must compel PennEast to reveal the purpose of the Phase 1 subscriptions, and must further compel PennEast to fully document the state of each and every precedent agreement for Phase 2. If PennEast fails to provide this information, then FERC will have no choice but to conclude that this project is not in the public convenience and necessity, and to reject this application.

APRIL 2020 NEWSLETTER– April 26th, 2020

At the end of our recent monthly member meeting with Congressman Tom Malinowski, the Congressman sounded a very positive note. In the long fight against PennEast he stated, for the first time, we are in a much better position than they are. He cited:

  1. The NJ state win in the 3rd Circuit Court which said PennEast constitutionally does not have the right to claim eminent domain over NJ state owned land on the proposed route.
  2. The possibility that PennEast’s appeal of that case might not be accepted by the US Supreme Court. Even if it is accepted it could be rejected after being heard.
  3. The surprising fact that, for the first time, FERC pushed back on PennEast’s request for a two-phase project, instead of its typical rubber stamping of any PennEast request.
  4. Given the falling price of oil and gas, the natural gas distribution companies investing in PennEast will have trouble coming up with the funds to begin construction.

Unfortunately, PennEast keeps trying and, as they have the FERC certificate, they can decide to come back sometime in the future if their current plans don’t work out.

Nonetheless, given the difficult times we are currently living through with COVID-19, we should celebrate our good fortune, while staying vigilant. There will be no April member meeting. The next member meeting will be held on May 27 (it may be virtual).

Once the Supreme Court decision on whether to take the 3rd Circuit Case is announced we will put out the word. In addition, HALT’s “due process” case before the US Circuit Court of Appeals in the DC Circuit against FERC is still on the docket awaiting action once steps are cleared with the status of the 3rd Circuit Case.

HALT is announcing a change in our Board of Trustees and a change in our Chairman. Gary Brackenridge of Delaware Township has recently been added to the HALT Board.

Vince DiBianca, the current Board Chair, has asked to step down as Chairman. Vince founded HALT at the initial meeting at his home. Vince has worked tirelessly for the interests of the homeowners along the proposed PennEast route. Leading an all-volunteer, not for profit community organization against 5 multi-billion-dollar corporations is a challenging task. While HALT members attend our monthly meetings, read our newsletters and appreciate the organizations community and legal efforts, someone has to drive the organization on a regular basis. Vince has provided energy, intelligence, thoughtfulness, putting in long hours to serve our community. He’s worked with the CAP groups, Congressman Malinowski’s office and other environmental groups engaged in the fight against PennEast. We all owe him our gratitude.

Gary Brackenridge will be stepping up as the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Vince will serve on the Board as Chairman Emeritus, helping Gary and continuing to contribute as an active member.

NEXT MEMBER MEETING WILL BE WEDNESDAY, MAY 27

(it may be virtual)

HALT’s February 26, 2020 Meeting Summary–March 4th, 2020

An Important Time To Have Our Voices Heard: Move To Intervene By March 4, 2020–Febuary 16th 2020

PennEast Update — January 11th 2020

PennEast Seeks Supreme Court Review–November 19th 2019

Where Things Stand At This Time–November 4th & 5th 2019

NJDEP Denied PennEast’s Submitted Application–Oct 11th 2019

Tell NJDEP to Reject PennEast Now!–September 18th 2019

Putting Together Our Game Plan — August 29th 2019

PennEast Application Resubmitted to NJDEP — August 12th 2019

Meeting Highlights — June 19th 2019

Governor Murphy & NJDEP Deny Permits To Build Contested Pipeline — June 8th 2019

More Uncertainty for PennEast and FERC — March 20th 2019

HALT Says FERC Lacks Jurisdiction to Amend PennEast’s Application; Pipeline Cannot Be Built Without an Act of Congress — March 18th 2019

Please Intervene By March 8, 2019 — February 24th, 2019

Homeowners Claim PennEast Official has Major Conflict of Interest — February 21st 2019

HALT Letter to Attorney General & Hunterdon Freeholders Support — February 2019

Homeowner Update From Judge — January 17th 2019

PennEast Discussions With Lawyers — January 16th 2019

Court Order Entered — January 11th 2019

Surveying — January 5th 2019

Keeping directly impacted homeowners informed — February 7th 2018

FERC May Have Rubber Stamped PennEast’s Application – But The Real Fight Has Just Begun! — January 19th 2018

Confirmed the nominations of FERC Commissioners McIntyre and Glick — November 3rd 2018

HALT & Homeowner’s Legal Actions — 2017

FERC Nominees Are Confirmed — August 3rd 2017

NJDEP Denies PennEast’s Request for a Permit Application Extension! — 2017