Comment on PennEast August 2020 Environmental Assessment


PennEast filed yet another application with FERC on January 30, 2020 proposing that half the project be built in 2021 up to mile marker 68 (from Luzerne to Northampton Counties in PA), and that Phase 2 be built later in Bucks County and in NJ if they can ever get approvals.  

On August 3, 2020, FERC released their Environmental Assessment (“EA”) of the project.  We have until September 2, 2020 to comment on this.  It is vital that the community weigh in and let FERC know how incredibly bad, inconsistent, and inaccurate this EA is.

FERC Docket: CP20-47-000

How To Comment on the August, 2020 FERC Environmental Assessment

The following link contains instructions on how to physically comment to FERC.

Instructions on how to comment on the FERC docket


Here are some of the many issues that we have found wrong with the EA that you may wish to comment on.

  1. FERC does not point out flaws in the Purpose and Need Statement.  The parrot back that the Purpose and Need is simply that they have subscribers for the project, and fail to mention that PennEast is intentionally hiding the real purpose.
  2. FERC does not mention that half the pipeline is unsubscribed.  
  3. FERC does not mention that the 4 woeful contracts are with PennEast affiliates.  Not a single 3rd party has signed on to the project.
  4. FERC fails to address why the Hellertown Lateral in PA is not included in the EA.  
  5. FERC fails to address the fact that NJR Energy Services and UGI Energy Services are skipping out on a combined 100,000 dekatherms/day commitment in PA from the original project.
  6. FERC does not investigate how the NJ affiliates who have contracted for gas volumes will receive gas from Phase 1.  This is a problem because Phase 1 never enters NJ.
  7. The 30 day comment period is insufficient in the time of covid-19.  People need more time to assess this given the difficulties of working from home.
  8. The EA improperly focuses only on the Church Road interconnects.  Given that PennEast lacked survey data in the first certificate application, it now has new information where it can more accurately assess environmental impacts beyond desktop surveys.
  9. The EA assumes Phase 2 is unchanged from the Certificated application.  This is false, as PennEast has signaled changes at the Hellertown Lateral due to the Phase 1 changes.
  10. FERC fails to ask about Phase 2 purpose and need.  Given that Phase 1 has some of the same shippers as the original route, FERC must demand shipper details for Phase 2.
  11. FERC fails to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the DRBC.
  12. The EA states that it has addressed commenters concerns during the scoping period in the EA.  It does not.
  13. FERC must determine that a new EIS is required.  Based on the changes in purpose and need, a new EIS must be prepared so that the Commission can properly assess impacts vs. purpose and need.

Link to 8/3/2020 Environmental Assessment

FERC Environmental Assessment, (8/3/2020

FERC Notice of Comment Period on Environmental Assessment (8/3/2020)


ONLY 1 MORE DAY! Intervene and comment on the new docket!

Show PennEast and FERC that we’re still here fighting!

After losing their eminent domain court case against the State of New Jersey, PennEast has a new strategy. They want to begin building the pipeline in PA as Phase 1 and then use that to muscle through a Phase 2 project in NJ. 
 We must STOP PennEast in PA now before it tries to get here!
PennEast is hoping that NJ residents won’t pay close attention to this and so, once again, we need to get as many people as possible to file as intervenors to show them that we aren’t going away! Filing as an intervenor is also the best way to safeguard your legal standing in this matter.
In addition to telling FERC this project impacts you, you can say:
1. Tell FERC that this latest PennEast application needs to be submitted as an entirely new project and not just an amendment.
2. Tell FERC that basic shipper information needs to be made public and not kept secret – as is ALWAYS the case!

Remember, adult children, friends and relatives who are concerned about this project’s impacts (higher gas prices, threats to our water, etc.) can intervene.

Instructions for how to file as an Intervenor on the FERC website for the new PennEast Docket CP20-47 can be found here. If you filed as an Intervenor on a previous docket, you can use the same account to file for this one.
If you need assistance, let us know – we can help!
Feel free to post on social media.
SEE HTCAPP’s Comment on the FERC Docket:

Dear Chairman Chatterjee,
Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline (HTCAPP), an organization comprised of thousands of citizens in Hopewell Township, New Jersey and the surrounding area, is writing to express our concerns regarding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) review of PennEast Pipeline Company’s, LLC (“PennEast”) proposed ‘amendments’ under Docket No. CP20-47-000 to the certificate of public convenience and necessity issued in January 2018 (FERC Docket No. CP 15-558-000). Given the completely new economic dynamics demonstrated by the recently divulged shipper information, FERC must conclude that the new amendments constitute an entirely new application. It is inherent upon FERC to use all tools at its disposal to determine whether there is legitimate public need for the project, and to be transparent with the provided information that determines its decision making process. It is clear from the recently released shipper information that there is no need-based justification for building Phase 1 of its pipeline in Pennsylvania, just as there is no need for the entire pipeline. PennEast grossly overbuilds gas capacity in New Jersey, putting New Jersey ratepayers on the hook for unneeded infrastructure for years to come.
As we have already substantially communicated to FERC, there would be significant and irreversible long term negative impacts to the natural resources and communities within our region of NJ, including harms to preserved public lands such as Bald Pate Mountain, and our waterways. Hopewell Township’s Board of Health unanimously voted for a resolution opposing the pipeline after hearing expert testimony about the many health and safety implications to our citizens, and impacts to our at-risk water supply that feeds our wells. None of these issues have been addressed by PennEast. Many experts have written about threats to our single sole source aquifer from arsenic, diverted water flow, and stream damage. PennEast has yet to adequately respond to these concerns. Local realtors have agreed that hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost property values will be incurred by residents from the pipeline in this area. In particular, the residents of Blackwell Road, Shara Lane, and Beechwood Drive, would receive as “abutters” no compensation yet incur all of the risks and financial burden by bordering the large 2 1/2 acre polluting end station of PennEast – the single highest pressure pipeline in the state of NJ. It is imperative that the public, as well as FERC have full opportunity to evaluate the need for both Phase One and Phase Two of the proposed project. Clear public need for a project must always be determined before eminent domain is conferred to a private company to take private and preserved lands, communities are threatened, and ratepayers are put at risk for costly, unneeded infrastructure.
Previously, FERC has relied on self-dealing contracts between the owners of PennEast and their affiliates as a foundation for finding market need. HTCAPP has previously objected and again reiterates that FERC cannot solely accept precedent contracts as evidence of project need, nor simply assess a private shippers’ ability to profit as satisfying FERC’s mandate to consider the public interest. Review of Penneast’s proposed Phase One and Phase Two ‘amendments’ without a complete reassessment of need as a new application is a further abuse of the public trust to which FERC is obligated.
Furthermore, given the new connection to major PennEast partner New Jersey Resources’ Adelphia Gateway Project, PennEast and Adelphia should now be considered by FERC as part of the same interconnected project. Looking at them separately without an analysis of their cumulative impacts,

including upstream and downstream climate impacts, would be illegal segmentation. This is yet one more reason why PennEast’s recent ‘amendments’ constitute an entirely new application.
In order to ensure compliance with the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act requirements for a regional analysis of need, FERC needs to begin an entirely new application.
HTAPP makes this request with respect for the mission and responsibilities of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and look forward to a timely response.
Patty Cronheim
Hopewell Township Citizens Against the PennEast Pipeline

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.

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.


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:

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!

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!



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, 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