PennEast Announces They Will Appeal to the Supreme Court

PennEast has announced that they will appeal to the United States Supreme Court by the early February deadline. In an attempt to have the court reverse the recent 3rd circuit decision that ruled against PennEast in favor of the State of New Jersey, PennEast will be petitioning the court to review the 3rd Circuit decision that disallows PennEast from suing the sovereign State of New Jersey for state owned lands.
Over the last five years, we have traveled a very long road fighting this unneeded, environmentally disastrous, and obsolete pipeline. It is gratifying that PennEast has to appeal to the highest court in the land to try to save their failing project. Remember, this is just one hoop they have to jump through. PennEast still has the NJDEP permitting process ahead as well as DRBC permitting, and there is a case filed in the DC Circuit court against FERC (disputing need) filed by Hopewell Township, NJCF, The Watershed Institute, Halt, DRN, and others that is yet to be heard. PennEast – and let’s call them who they are – New Jersey Resources, South Jersey Industries, Elizabethtown Gas, UGI, Enbridge should pack up their tent and call it a day. They are not wanted. https://www.nj.com/news/2019/11/penneast-seeking-supreme-court-review-of-nj-pennsylvania-pipeline.html

State of New Jersey WINS in 3rd Circuit!

Today we had a great victory! 
The state of New Jersey won in the 3rd circuit court of appeals against PennEast! (see attached decision) The court decision stated that PennEast, a private company, does not, under the 11th amendment, have the authority to file for eminent domain against a sovereign state. Only the federal government has that authority.  Please read on for the HALT summary.  And ENJOY today’s victory!  The fight may not be over, but this win feels very good!

From Our Friends at HALT:

Today the 3rd Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the NJ Attorney General’s appeal of the lower court ruling granting PennEast the right to access and seize over 40 properties preserved by the state.  The court ruled that the state has sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment of the Constitution and can’t be sued by a private company in federal court.  The ruling means that PennEast no longer has any authority over these properties. This is a great victory for all of the homeowners who stood strong against condemnation of their lands, encouraging the Attorney General to take the same stance.  While it is unclear what might happen next, this is a significant blow to PennEast’s efforts to advance the project. PennEast could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, seek to have FERC condemn state lands on their behalf, or possibly try to re-route the project around state-preserved lands. We will share more information as we have it, but should all celebrate this important court victory in the meantime.

PENNEAST APPLIES TO THE NJDEP FOR WATER PERMITS!

This is what we’ve all been waiting for. The chance to shut down this pipeline down at the NJDEP once and for all with facts and science at our backs! We are waiting for the official comment period to begin once the application is posted in the NJDEP bulletin. In the meantime, brush off your old FERC comments and start reading the application:

https://www.nj.gov/dep/penneast/application.html?fbclid=IwAR2Q3WU7cKQflslV4ng_0PEYEPyysHdsQ1T_n2UatAPzduXfJadJMQKct4I

DC Court of Appeals begins to hear arguments against PennEast

Arguments have just begun in the DC Court of Appeals.  The State of NJ has offered arguments stating that PennEast, a privat company,  does not have the right to use eminent domain against state held lands.  Other plaintiffs, including NJCF, The Watershed Institute, HALT, The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Hopewell Township, are invovled in the DC COurt of Appeals case challenging the FERC decision of need and public interest.  To stay current and follow the lasted news, got to ReThink Energy NJ

The Fight Comes to NEW JERSEY!

SPEAK OUT! Post FERC Conditional Approval News of PennEast Pipeline

On Friday January 19, 2018 FERC approved the Certificate that allowed
PennEast to use eminent domain to take private and public lands.
FERC’s rubber stamp approval was expected, as FERC has only declined one pipeline since 1986.
Now – our fight intensifies and moves to the state government level and Federal DC Court of Appeals where we have a real chance of stopping this project in its tracks.

A bit of history….On Friday ,February 16th, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) once again added their voice to our cause, filing a request asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to hold a rehearing and issue a stay on the use of eminent domain until that hearing is held.

The NJ Rate Counsel also filed for a rehearing. The NJDEP and the Rate Counsel join over a dozen other parties that have filed requests for a rehearing, including:

  • Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission,
  • Hopewell Township
  • New Jersey Conservation Foundation
  • Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Assosciation
  • Delaware Riverkeeper Network,
  • Sierra Club of New Jersey,
  • New Jersey Natural Lands Trust,
  • And many Landowners and other townships

After initialing ordering a “tolling order” of these legal requests, FERC denied the rehearing request.  That opened the door for the state of NJ and plaintiffs, including Hopewell Township, to file an appeal with the DC Court of Appeals. That appeal has begun and arguments are in the process of being heard.

To stay current with court news, go to ReThink Energy NJ for the latest information.

REMEMBER, the state of NJ still has the power to stop this project.  The pipeline still has to meet all of the regulatory permitting 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) all have the power to stop this project. The current administration is standing with us, taking action to fight and understands that this project isn’t good for NJ!

News Briefs and Action Items

 

 

Eminent Domain – Yes, it’s true…

About 150 properties, that’s homeowners, Towns (including Hopewell Township), Counties, NJCF, and even the State of New Jersey lost in court over eminent domain.  We applaud all of these brave individuals and groups for standing strong. Taking land for an unneeded pipeline for nothing more than private profit is wrong.  Taking permanent eminent domain easements from homeowners and taxpayers for a pipeline that will certainly reroute and most likely never get it’s permits and be stopped is insanity.  This pipeline will continue to be fought hard in the DC court of appeals and of course at the NJDEP!

https://rethinkenergynj.org/videos/


Pipeline Construction.jpg

ReThink Energy NJ: New Electronic Letter Service Available

Speak Out!

Dear CAP and HALT Friends,

Some of you have already noticed and posted on your social media and websites, but we wanted to make it official and let you know that ReThink Energy NJ now has an ongoing electronic letter service available on its site that contact Governor Murphy, the NJDEP, and your elected officials. There is room for a personalized letter as well.   As circumstances invariably alter, we can adapt the message to meet new communications needs quickly.

We’re posting this on Facebook and Twitter as well as in our newsletters

Take two minutes and tell your elected officials to reject PennEast: Speak Out!

Thanks!

-Patty


HOPEWELL: Township officials lawyer up to challenge PennEast application approval

HOPEWELL: Township officials lawyer up to challenge PennEast application approval

Read the article on Hopewell’s plans to fight eminent doamin and request a rehearing and Stay at FERC

 

From the archives…8,000 sign anti-pipeline petition

Results of regional petition opposing proposed 118-mile PennEast natural gas pipeline announced

By Frank Mustac, Special Writer

CentralJersey.com, Wednesday, May 11, 2016 — Hopewell Township Mayor Kevin Kuchinski was among a group of bipartisan elected officials who joined conservation leaders and citizens’ groups at the State Capitol in Trenton on Tuesday, morning May 10 to announce the results of a regional petition opposing the proposed 118-mile PennEast natural gas pipeline.

The petition received more than 8,000 signatures from citizens across 2,000 zip codes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline. The non-profit organization was also represented at the event held on the steps of the State House in Trenton. More

Energy Expert Analysis Debunks PennEast Justification for Proposed Pipeline — Only Purpose Is Profit

Energy Expert Analysis Debunks PennEast Justification for Proposed Pipeline — Only Purpose Is Profit

New Jersey Conservation Foundation Calls on FERC to Halt Review and Investigate Claims

FAR HILLS, N.J. (March 11, 2016) — PennEast’s claims that its proposed pipeline is needed to supply New Jersey with additional natural gas capacity and will reduce gas prices for consumers are not substantiated according to a report conducted for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. In the analysis prepared by Skipping Stone, a nationally recognized energy consulting firm, it also notes that introduction of the pipeline’s capacity to the region would actually increase costs to the region’s ratepayers, not decrease them as PennEast alleges.

The report concluded that regulators should not rely merely on the existence of contracts to assess need, since most of the customers purchasing capacity on PennEast are also affiliated with PennEast owners. Instead, the primary motivation for the project appears to be the potential high return on capital for owners of PennEast.

“This analysis provides concrete data to conclude that PennEast’s justifications for the proposed pipeline do not hold water,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director — Energy, Climate and Natural Resources for New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which commissioned the Skipping Stone research. “The PennEast pipeline is not needed and ratepayers will bear the cost. Profit by the private companies that own PennEast is not justification for building a pipeline, nor the use of eminent domain to take private property.”

“Based on this compelling analysis, we call upon FERC to immediately suspend review of PennEast’s application and to initiate a full-evidentiary hearing to determine what demand is supposedly being met by the proposed pipeline,” Gilbert stated. “The project should be rejected without a demonstration of public need.”

Gilbert also notes that according to the report:

Local gas distribution companies in the Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey market have more than enough firm delivery capacity to meet the needs of customers during peak winter periods. The analysis shows there is currently 49.9% more delivery capacity than needed to meet even the harsh winter experienced in 2013 (the Polar Vortex Winter).

There are alternative ways for providers of gas-fired electric generation to meet their need for electric reliability more cost-effectively by using either natural gas from LNG facilities or dual fuel. Natural gas pipelines in the northeast are typically fully utilized between 10 and 30 days a year to meet peak demand in the winter. Building a pipeline that is only fully utilized for a short period of time is not a cost effective way to provide reliable electricity.

The impact of PennEast may well be to increase, rather than decrease, costs to gas customers. The PennEast pipeline would be capable of transporting 1 billion cubic feet of gas daily, displacing gas from existing pipelines. Analysis of two existing pipelines shows that the value of capacity on those pipelines would decrease, costing ratepayers between $130 million and $230 million annually in lost revenues. Additionally, to the extent excess capacity causes existing pipelines in the region to experience loss of contracting by customers, FERC rules permit those existing pipelines to file for rate increases on remaining customers to recover lost revenues.

PennEast claims of potential savings for gas consumers or electric generation customers are based on faulty assumptions and analysis. The price spike experience during the Polar Vortex is unlikely to be repeated and does not, alone, justify the addition of new pipeline capacity. PennEast does not address evidence that similar price spikes did not occur in Winter 2014/2015; nor the important changes made in electric markets since 2013 that reduce dependence on constrained natural gas pipelines during peak demand periods because of reliance on fuel oil and LNG.

FERC should not rely on non-arms-length transactions as a foundation for finding market need. New Jersey Natural Gas, PSEG, South Jersey Gas, and Elizabethtown Gas have purchased 50% of the total capacity of the pipeline, while their corporate affiliates own 70% of PennEast. While the parent companies will benefit from their ownership of PennEast, those companies’ customers — ratepayers — bear the risk of paying for the PennEast capacity for 15 years. The contracts are essentially between parent companies and their own affiliates and therefore cannot by themselves represent a true demonstration of market need.

The Skipping Stone report can be found at: rethinkenergynj.org/penneastnotneeded