January 2020 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 1/28/2020

As noted in last month’s report, PennEast Pipeline has asked FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for an extension of two more years in which to get the project operational.  FERC has not yet scheduled a hearing on the extension request.  The company filed its last-minute request on Dec. 30th.  The certificate was to end on 1/19/2020.

PennEast has also asked FERC to weigh in on a legal dispute with the State of New Jersey regarding using Eminent Domain.  PennEast has lost a federal legal battle to seize the New Jersey land it needs to build the pipeline, stalling the project. But the company intends to appeal to the Supreme Court and has asked FERC for a declaratory order where the commission would state that PennEast should be able to use federal eminent domain powers even to seize state-owned lands. Some observers think FERC is unlikely to grant PennEast’s request because it could have filed briefs in the earlier legal battles if it supported the company’s position.  FERC was originally scheduled to make a decision on the 23rd but has moved the hearing to the 30th

PennEast intends to file its petition to the Supreme Court on February 3rd.  Legal observers say that the odds of the Supreme Court taking up the case are slim.  The Court only takes about 1% of the cases it receives and there is strong precedent upholding a state’s immunity from suits by private parties.  Until the petition is filed, we will not know the basis for the company’s appeal.

While homeowners in Carbon County are battling PennEast, homeowners in Delaware County are dealing with the impact of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.  This pipeline is proposed to carry volatile natural gas liquids from Ohio to an export facility in Delaware County. The pipeline construction has contaminated surface and groundwater sources by hundreds of drilling mud spills, created sinkholes in parks and backyards and ruined wells for dozens of homeowners.  Some homeowners have not had potable water for over six months. The company denies responsibility for any of the well contamination. The DEP has shut down the project for a month and issued fines of $12.6 million. The FBI is investigating the Wolf administration’s handling of the permit process for 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.”

PennEast Update — January 11th 2020



Back in January 2018 PennEast was given until January 19, 2020 to finish the proposed project and place it into service. As you know, after solid opposition these two years have expired and no pipeline is in place. This is great news!

On December 30, 2019 PennEast, citing regulatory hurdles that still remain in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, filed a request with the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for a two-year extension. FERC regularly rubber stamps such requests and an extension for PennEast is expected. Nonetheless, on January 6, Columbia Morningside Legal Services Inc. sent a letter to FERC on behalf of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, The Watershed Institute and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network opposing PennEast’s baseless request for an extension of time. Link to letter: https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=15436984 . 

Also, see attached article in NJSPOTLIGHT containing comments from Tim Duggan on this subject https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/01/penneast-way-behind-schedule-asks-for-two-more-years-to-build-pipeline/?fbclid=IwAR2PrMyC7TzghHwEDL8onlJrqLBCvdJdkAyKbLTUv-OBcfMXMeLxNuJ-lFE

As you know, PennEast has requested that the U.S. Supreme Court review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit stating that PennEast could not take the State of New Jersey into court to take possession of state land for private development. It remains unclear as to whether the Supreme Court will choose to hear this case. At the same time, PennEast cannot resubmit its failed applications to the NJDEP until the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is complete. The DRBC is reviewing PennEast’s application but has not schedule required public hearings.

Since there is little else to report, HALT is cancelling the January 29 meeting at the Prallsville Mills. As of now, we will retain the February 26 scheduled meeting. 

In the meantime, HALT will remain attentive and vigilant in its opposition. We ask homeowners and citizens to do the same. Our intention over the ensuing months is to pay attention to developments in the courts including decisions on related cases. Our neighbors in Pennsylvania will keep their focus on preventing PennEast from cutting trees and inflicting other damage before any construction begins. 

We will continue to keep you abreast of any events as they unfold. May 2020 bring us more good news!

December 2019 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 12/31/2019

Note that PennEast has asked for a two-year extension from FERC.  This is an admission of their failure to complete the project on schedule.  Thanks to everyone who has worked to make this happen and have a great new year. 

L. Christman

Today the PennEast Pipeline asked FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for an “extension of time.”  On January 19, 2018, the FERC issued an order authorizing PennEast to construct, own and operate the proposed PennEast Pipeline.  Under that order, the project was to be operational by January 19, 2020. Oops. PennEast is asking for an extension until January 19, 2022.  Coincidentally, the 2022 date is consistent with the timeline we published last month which was a “best case” estimate for the pipeline.

If they manage to complete the pipeline by 2022, it will be five years behind schedule.

About a year ago, an accident at a gas well in Ohio caused a blowout of methane into the air.  The leak went on for 20 days.  This accident got very little press but a new study conducted using satellite imaging and published in December shows that the accident released 60,000 tons of methane, which is more methane than is released in an entire year in all European countries except the UK, Germany and Italy.  Leaked unburned methane is 80 times more harmful in terms of climate change than burning coal. 

Energywire, an oil and gas industry publication, listed the PennEast petition to the Supreme Court as one of eight important energy battles to watch in 2020.  The report concludes that.” …the odds are stacked against PennEast. The Supreme Court only agrees to hear 1% of the cases it receives.” 

The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is another of the eight energy battles listed by Energywire.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Dist. of Columbia took the rare step of agreeing to rehear a case concerning FERC’s use of “tolling orders” which effectively allows pipeline projects to move forward while denying landowners a hearing before the commission.  A hearing before the commission is required before a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit. The tolling order prevents landowners from having their day in court before the pipeline is built. If the appeals court overturns the precedent in the case, the rights of landowners to due process would be affirmed and strengthened.  There is a similar case against PennEast concerning the use of tolling orders and due process for landowners.

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.”