PennEast Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
PennEast Gas Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline.
- Owner: Spectra Energy (20.00%), Southern Company (20.00%), UGI Corporation (UGI) (20.00%), New Jersey Resources (20.00%), South Jersey Industries (20.00%)
- Capacity: 1,107 million cubic feet per day
- Length: 118 miles / 189.9 km
- Diameter: 24-inches, 36-inches
- Cost: US$ 1 billion
- Status: Proposed
- Start Year: 2021 (Pennsylvania), 2023 (New Jersey)
The PennEast Pipeline is a proposed project by PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, a consortium of six energy companies, to move natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The proposed 36-inch (910 mm) pipeline would run from Dallas, Luzerne County to Pennington, Mercer County, New Jersey, a distance of approximately 115 miles (185 km).
In order for construction on the pipeline to begin, several legal barriers must be crossed. The PennEast Pipeline Company must secure permits from several governing bodies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Delaware River Basin Commission. Both the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania must also approve the project. In June 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rejected a water quality permit application. The reason cited was that the PennEast Pipeline Company did not submit all of the information that the application required. The company has said that they intend to re-apply.
In January of 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued approval of the PennEast Gas Pipeline project in the form of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity; the decision was widely opposed by both politicians and grassroots environmental groups. However, the project cannot proceed until other agencies issue approval.
In February of 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denied permits for the pipeline, weeks after the $1 billion project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.
On August 8, 2019, representatives of the PennEast Pipeline Company submitted a new Freshwater Wetlands Permit application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). PennEast must prove through the application that the proposed pipeline would comply with state regulations for flood hazards, storm water, endangered species, and water quality standards. Shortly after, Deputy Director of the Hunterdon County Board of Freeholders, John E. Lanza, called on his fellow Board of Freeholders members to oppose the new application.
In February of 2020, the PennEast Pipeline Company announced a two-phase approach to completing the pipeline project. The company filed an amendment with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct the pipeline in two phases, which would require an extension of their original approved timeline. Phase one consists of 68 miles of pipeline in Pennsylvania, which would be ready to deliver natural gas by November 2021. Phase two would finish the remaining route in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with a target completion in 2023. FERC approved the developer's request for an extension and in August 2020 FERC released a favourable environmental review for PennEast’s plan to divide the pipeline project in two phases, considering that it would not significantly affect the environment.
As of July 2020, developers are awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether the high court will hear their appeal of a 2019 Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision denying the condemning of 42 parcels of New Jersey state-owned land, land which developers need to complete construction. When the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denied the company’s Freshwater Wetlands Permit application, they cited the Third Court's decision. In June 2020, Supreme Court justices asked the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the Trump Administration’s views on the issue.
In December 2020 New Jersey Resources removed the pipeline from its long-term financial projections in an expression of doubt that it will be built.
There has been a considerable public pushback regarding the proposal for the pipeline. The most vocal have formed the group “Stop the PennEast Pipeline.” This group has created a website encouraging residents of the affected towns (see the ‘Route’ section above) to argue against the project. On this website, they propose that the pipeline is not needed, and the construction and the pipeline itself would pose a risk to wildlife and waterways. They also suggest that the pipeline would disrupt various cultural and recreational aspects of the communities that would be affected by the pipeline.
Clean Water Action has also worked furiously against the pipeline. State campaign director David Pringle said "PennEast would destroy open space and property rights, pollute our water, and exacerbate the climate crisis," at a protest in Trenton in October 2016. He was joined by representatives of the Sierra Club, Environment New Jersey, and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. 
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) mainly focuses on the environmental impact that the pipeline would have on the Delaware River, one of the major waterways that the pipeline would cross. On their website, they discuss that the majority of the proposed route falls within the Delaware Watershed. In March 2016, the DRN filed a Constitutional Challenge against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Their argument was that the Environmental Impact Statement released by the FERC was biased in favor of the pipeline. The court dismissed the case, however the DRN is appealing the decision.
Articles and resources
- PennEast Gas Pipeline, Wikipedia, accessed September 2017
- PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC. "PennEast Pipeline Proposed Route". penneastpipeline.com. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
- National Energy and Petrochemical Map , FracTracker, February 28, 2020
- Asset Data, IJGlobal, accessed Aug. 27, 2020
- Natural Gas Data, Pipeline Projects Energy Information Agency, July 21, 2020
- Andrew Harrison, "PennEast seeking approval to construct natural gas pipeline in two phases", CentralJersey.com, February 14, 2020
- PennEast Pipeline, PennEast Pipeline, accessed 6 December 2016
- N.J. DEP denies permits needed for PennEast pipeline, NJ.com, 28 June 2017
- PennEast pipeline gets federal approval hours before government shutdown, NJ Biz, 22 January 2018
- Mike Deak, PennEast: Environmentalists step up opposition to natural gas pipeline, mycentraljersey.com, August 10, 2019
- Andrew Harrison, PennEast Pipeline Company submits new application to DEP, CentralJersey.com, August 21, 2019
- Caroline Fassett, Hunterdon freeholder calls for another resolution opposing the PennEast Pipeline, NJ.com, August 23, 2019
- Andrew Harrison, PennEast Pipeline partners still determined to build $1 billion pipeline project, CentralJersey.com, July 8, 2020
- Maya Weber, "US FERC releases favorable environmental review for PennEast Pipeline", S&P Global, Aug. 3, 2020
- New Jersey Resources Pulls PennEast Natural Gas Pipe from Projections as Delays Persist, Natural Gas Intel, Dec. 4, 2020
- Stop the PennEast Pipeline, Stop PennEast, retrieved 22 October 2017
- Angry About PennEast Project, Opponents Rally outside PSEG Offices, NJ Spotlight, Tom Johnson, 30 September 2015
- PennEast Pipeline Project, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, retrieved 26 October 2017