Where Things Stand At This Time–November 4th & 5th 2019

Updated on 11/5/2019


The Third Circuit decided NOT to grant PennEast’s application to rehear or reconsider its prior decision in favor of the State of New Jersey. Thus, PennEast does not have the right to condemn the land on which New Jersey has an ownership interest. This halts another PennEast legal attempt to gain traction on its proposed pipeline. Another closed door.

As stated in our prior newsletter, PennEast may, or may not, petition the Supreme Court to hear its case. We will keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy this favorable decision from the Third Circuit!

November 4th Post:

Legal Updates

As most of you know, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an important decision on September 10, 2019. The Court said the State of New Jersey has sovereign immunity, which means PennEast cannot take the State to court in order to condemn the forty-two parcels of land on which New Jersey has an ownership interest. Although, the Third Circuit’s decision does not affect the parcels on which the state does not have a property interest, this presents a significant obstacle to PennEast’s plans to build the pipeline.

On October 22, 2019 PennEast asked all of the judges on the Third Circuit Court to reconsider the decision made by the panel of three judges. It is unusual for a full Court to overrule a unanimous decision, but it is possible. If PennEast fails, it may, or may not, petition the Supreme Court to take the case. HALT will keep you informed as these appeals proceed.

About two weeks after the Third Circuit’s decision was issued, New Jersey asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to put the six petitions (including HALT’s) against FERC on hold until all of the appeals of the Third Circuit decision have been completed. The court agreed so it cancelled the October 4, 2019 oral arguments. HALT wanted the case to move forward because only the D.C. Circuit can void the certificate FERC granted to PennEast. We will have to wait for however long it takes for the court to decide if FERC violated homeowner due process rights. Meanwhile, PennEast holds an easement on direclty impacted land.

Regulatory Update

October 10, 2019, NJDEP denied PennEast’s application for a water quality permit which is good news. PennEast may file a new application if it wins its appeal or somehow finds a route that does not cross state land (which we understand to be unlikely). The state action put another crimp in PennEast’s plans.

What can HALT members do now?

While legal proceedings continue, homeowners are advised to create and/or maintain updated records and data on their properties. This includes information on: location of wells, septic systems, creeks and wetlands; water quality test results; historical features, endangered species and more. This may be needed if PennEast ever files a new application to NJDEP.


The next HALT member meeting will be Wednesday, November 20 at 6:30 pm (not our usual 7:30 pm time). This meeting will be a potluck dinner where we “Give Thanks”. With Thanksgiving the following week, it is an appropriate time to express our gratitude to one another for our long-standing efforts and to take stock of how far we’ve come! 

Details to follow….

October 2019 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 11/1/2019

Yesterday, the Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 383,000 gallons (9,120 barrels) of oil into wetlands in North Dakota. The leak is already the eighth-largest pipeline oil spill of the last decade. The tar sands oil transported through the Keystone pipeline is particularly hard to clean up because, unlike crude oil, it sinks in water.  There is little difference between an oil pipeline under pressure and a gas pipeline—except the leaked gas explodes.

New data reveals that damaging air pollution has increased nationwide since 2016, reversing a decades-long trend toward cleaner air.  An analysis published this week by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that fine particulate pollution increased 5.5 percent on average across the country.  The research identified recent increases in driving and the burning of natural gas as likely contributors to the uptick. Particulate pollution has been linked to a range of health problems including asthma, lung cancer, heart attack and stroke.

As reported last month, on Sept. 10th, the 3rd District Appeals Court upheld the State of New Jersey’s appeal.  The Court ruled that PennEast, as a private company, cannot use the power of Eminent Domain to take easements owned in whole or in part by the State of New Jersey because the state has sovereignty rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

During the hearings, PennEast was asked if a federal agency such as FERC could bring Eminent Domain proceedings on their behalf.  PennEast answered, “No” because the Natural Gas Act (NGA) only allows the “certificate holder” which is PennEast to assume the power of Eminent Domain.  Not withstanding their answer, PennEast is now asking FERC to make an emergency interpretation of the NGA that would allow FERC to proceed against New Jersey on behalf of the pipeline company.  Obviously, this is an attempt to work around the Court’s ruling but their own answers, on the record, should work against them. 

Save Carbon County held their fourth annual Pipeline Blowout on Sunday the 27th.  Approximately 45 impacted landowners and supporters attended a lunch and basket auction at the Big Creek Grange.  Speakers at the event were Eve Miari of the Clean Air Council and Margaret Shinsec, a local impacted landowner. The event was a great way to lift spirits after our fourth year of fighting this pipeline. 

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.”