April 2020 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 5/3/2020

As reported earlier, on January 30th PennEast filed an application for a new Pennsylvania-only pipeline which they call “Phase I.” PennEast freely admits that the

shortened Phase I project was created because of the legal and administrative hurdles they face in New Jersey.  The company states that Phase I works as either a portion of the original project ending near Trenton, New Jersey, or as a stand-alone project ending in Bethlehem Twp., PA.  The company calls the project a phased construction project and relies on the environmental impact report prepared for the original project as well as the state permits granted for the original project.  The company also relies on the original statement of public need.  That statement is based on the idea that the pipeline will protect New Jersey and Pennsylvania from high gas prices.  But gas prices in the country at large are some of the lowest ever seen, and gas prices in Pennsylvania are among the lowest in the nation.  

After initially refusing the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Basin Commission, the company now agrees that the project, no matter what it is called, is subject to the approval of the DRBC.

If PennEast must accept the shortened stand-alone project, the company will have settled far below their original goals for profitability.

FERC has yet to act on the brief Environmental Assessment submitted for the new project.  The public comment period ended on March 4th.  Save Carbon County and other concerned citizens’ groups submitted over 800 comments.

PennEast has submitted a brief to the Supreme Court asking the Court to overturn a lower court decision. The Court is considering whether to hear an appeal of the decision reached by the D.C. Third Circuit which found that a private company such as PennEast may not bring Eminent Domain proceedings against a state.  If the Third Circuit ruling stands, PennEast will be barred from crossing over forty properties in New Jersey that are part of their planned route.  The State of New Jersey will submit their brief by June 2nd.  The Supreme Court has not yet issued their decision, and everyone is on pins and needles—including, I imagine, PennEast.

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.”

Request for Homeowners to Submit a Comment to FERC–May 5th, 2020


This could be a rare opportunity to have FERC act upon the mis-information and lack of credibility demonstrated by PennEast. PennEast is in a dire position, which is why they have proposed a two-phase approach to building their un-needed pipeline.

Mike Spille has done a very thorough and focused job writing to FERC about PennEast’s increasing lack of economic rationale for the pipeline. Two PennEast investor companies are reneging on their prior commitments to buy gas from PennEast in Phase 1. The situation is exacerbated by the demise of the natural gas market, much like the oil market.

Will FERC act honestly and hold PennEast to the requirements for building a pipeline? Here is our best chance to test FERC. As you might know Congress is putting pressure on FERC to start taking into consideration the rights of homeowners.

Mike has written the below message, and he and HALT are requesting our members to reinforce Mike’s letter to FERC by submitting the same or similar message (feel free to customize) to the FERC website. 

To submit a comment to FERC go to: https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx

Note: Anyone can submit a comment to FERC you don’t have to be registered with FERC.

  • Search for Docket Number: CP20-47 and click on Select
  • Copy and paste the comment into the section provided (feel free to customize)
  • Click on Send Comment

Word link for the below comment: https://thecostofthepipeline.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/ugiandnjrphase1withdrawal.docx


PennEast’s refusal to document the business goals of its precedent agreements for the Phase 1 project should not be allowed to stand. Actions of some of PennEast’s affiliate companies offers evidence that what PennEast has portrayed regarding these self-dealing agreements is either false or suspect, at best. Accordingly, we respectfully and strongly request that FERC delve into these open questions which may invalidate or significantly weaken PennEast’s stated purpose and need.

Specifically, two PennEast affiliated companies, UGI Energy Services and NJR Energy Services, have refused to sign onto portions of Phase 1 of this project, even though they are fully within the area the project purports to serve in Pennsylvania. This is peculiar and of particular concern given that 48% of the proposed Phase 1 pipeline has no contracts and will likely be empty.

Huge projects such as these should not be allowed to move forward when the only benefit is enriching the project owners and their subsidiaries. This is especially true when PennEast has filed 48 eminent domain condemnation suits in Pennsylvania for Phase 1 of this project, and a devastating 150 eminent domain condemnation suits in New Jersey for Phase 2. In NJ, eminent domain takings represent a full 50% of the PennEast route.

The partial withdrawal of UGI Energy Services from Phase 1, and the total withdrawal of NJR Energy Services from Phase 1 as well, is a smoking gun that proves that demand for this project has utterly collapsed. Even PennEast’s owners have lost faith in it. FERC must compel PennEast to reveal the purpose of the Phase 1 subscriptions, and must further compel PennEast to fully document the state of each and every precedent agreement for Phase 2. If PennEast fails to provide this information, then FERC will have no choice but to conclude that this project is not in the public convenience and necessity, and to reject this application.