Sept 2019 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 9/29/2019

The big news:  On September 10th, a three-judge panel of the 3rd District Appeals Court, overturned an earlier ruling and upheld the State of New Jersey’s appeal.  New Jersey had argued that PennEast, as a private company, did not have the right to use Eminent Domain to take easements across state-owned or state-conserved properties.  New Jersey argued that under the Constitution, the State has sovereign rights that cannot be usurped by a private company.  If the ruling stands, it means that PennEast will not be able to cross approximately 75 state owned or conserved properties.  This leaves PennEast with some difficult choices: (1) major rerouting of the project around these properties with the huge delays that would be involved or (2) appeal to the Supreme Court which takes less than 3% of the cases presented.  The ruling by the District Court is in line with another recent ruling in favor of the State of Maryland versus a pipeline company seeking to take easements from state properties.  Since this ruling was by a three-judge panel of the Court, the first move for PennEast will probably be to ask for all nine judges of the Court to consider the case.  I am told that it is very likely the Court will agree to a full-panel hearing.

In the meantime, all of the impacted landowners and pipeline fighters are enjoying the win.

Last month PennEast resubmitted their application to NJDEP.  This month, it was again rejected by NJDEP for a lack of information. 

The Fourth Annual Pipeline Blowout, hosted by Roy and Linda Christman, is scheduled for October 27th at the Big Creek Grange near Beltzville State Park.  The party will begin at 1PM and end at 2:30PM.  There will be good food, drinks, desserts and a live bluegrass band to entertain.  We will also have a few speeches, a basket auction, and activities for the kids.  You are cordially invited.  The event is free.

Save Carbon County is a member of a regional and two-state effort to stop the PennEast/UGI pipeline.  Local information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop the Fracking Pipeline.” Regional Information can be found on FaceBook at “Stop PennEast Pipeline.”

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


October 11, 2019

Yesterday, the NJDEP denied PennEast’s recently submitted application citing the US Court of Appeals decision to vacate the orders of condemnation for forty-nine properties where the state of NJ has property ownership interests.

The letter states that the PennEast application cannot be deemed “administratively complete” because PennEast now lacks the authority to submit the application. It goes on to say, “Given this fundamental deficiency, the NJDEP hereby rejects and administratively closes the Application”. “The application is denied without prejudice and as a result, no application for a Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit and Water Quality Certificate is currently pending in any form before the NJDEP”. Finally, the letter states, “The Department shall take no further action on this application.”

This decision means that this application cannot be resubmitted without PennEast having legal authority to these 49 properties. This is great news for homeowners and we applaud the NJDEP for its diligent and swift decision.

We are aware that the battle to halt this pipeline will likely continue. PennEast may attempt to overturn the Court’s decision by requesting an “en banc” rehearing with the Third Circuit (which is a request for a full panel rehearing and reconsideration of the decision made by the 3 judge panel). These requests are sometimes granted under special circumstances. In due time, PennEast may also petition the Supreme Court to hear this case. They may try to litigate in state court. PennEast has already contacted FERC in an attempt to enlist the support of FERC with their legal dilemma. Who knows what PennEast will try next?

All that said, impacted homeowners, their neighbors and allies have never been in a stronger position! And, we are not going away. We will keep you apprised of developments.