PennEast Update — January 11th 2020



Back in January 2018 PennEast was given until January 19, 2020 to finish the proposed project and place it into service. As you know, after solid opposition these two years have expired and no pipeline is in place. This is great news!

On December 30, 2019 PennEast, citing regulatory hurdles that still remain in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, filed a request with the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for a two-year extension. FERC regularly rubber stamps such requests and an extension for PennEast is expected. Nonetheless, on January 6, Columbia Morningside Legal Services Inc. sent a letter to FERC on behalf of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, The Watershed Institute and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network opposing PennEast’s baseless request for an extension of time. Link to letter: .

Also, see attached article in NJSPOTLIGHT containing comments from Tim Duggan on this subject

As you know, PennEast has requested that the U.S. Supreme Court review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit stating that PennEast could not take the State of New Jersey into court to take possession of state land for private development. It remains unclear as to whether the Supreme Court will choose to hear this case. At the same time, PennEast cannot resubmit its failed applications to the NJDEP until the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is complete. The DRBC is reviewing PennEast’s application but has not schedule required public hearings.

Since there is little else to report, HALT is cancelling the January 29 meeting at the Prallsville Mills. As of now, we will retain the February 26 scheduled meeting.

In the meantime, HALT will remain attentive and vigilant in its opposition. We ask homeowners and citizens to do the same. Our intention over the ensuing months is to pay attention to developments in the courts including decisions on related cases. Our neighbors in Pennsylvania will keep their focus on preventing PennEast from cutting trees and inflicting other damage before any construction begins.

We will continue to keep you abreast of any events as they unfold. May 2020 bring us more good news!

PennEast Seeks Supreme Court Review–November 19th 2019

PennEast announced last Thursday (November 14th) that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that said PennEast could not take the State of New Jersey into court to take possession of state land.

This move was anticipated. We expected PennEast to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Third Circuit’s decision because otherwise it lacks options for moving forward with its pipeline project. In addition, PennEast has to show its investors and FERC that it is doing everything it can to get the project built. Otherwise, FERC would have grounds to withdraw its certificate.

Review is not automatic. No one knows whether the high court will hear this case. On average, the Supreme Court only takes 1 to 2% of the cases it is asked to review, and usually only takes cases where circuit courts have issued opposing opinions on the law. That is not the case here. PennEast will argue that it is in the national interest to build pipelines and the Third Circuit’s decision interferes with that national policy. New Jersey, on the other hand, will assert its sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This forbids private companies, like PennEast, from suing states unless the right has been waived by the state or by Congress.

If heard, what is the likely outcome? This move by PennEast will cause another extensive delay. If the Supreme Court were to take the case next spring, oral arguments would probably be scheduled in the fall of 2020, with a decision issued during the first half of 2021. No one can accurately predict what the Supreme Court would decide and when it will make that decision.

Steps in the meantime. HALT, and its members and allies, are aligning to support the State of New Jersey to ensure that our resources are made available and our voices heard. Remember, the pipeline cannot be built while the Supreme Court decides whether to take the case or unless it issues an order overturning the Third Circuit’s decision. If it does take the case, it would probably not issue a decision until the winter or spring of 2021. If it doesn’t take the case or doesn’t overturn the decision, PennEast may not be able to proceed.

We will keep you abreast of events as they unfold!

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