Positive News – September 23rd, 2020


A dose of positive news today regarding easements for the now failed Constitution pipeline courtesy of our attorney, Anne Marie Garti.

“On September 17, the judge in the condemnation cases for the now dead Constitution Pipeline issued a decision and order dissolving BOTH orders he issued in 2015: Partial Summary Judgment (granting Constitution the right to take land for the Constitution Pipeline) and the Preliminary Injunction (granting immediate access to that land). He further ordered Constitution to record the decision and order in the Office of the County Clerk. That means the title to the properties will now be free of the pipeline easement.

Even though I only submitted briefs making these arguments on behalf of my clients, he applied his decision to all of the remaining condemnation cases.

However, this decision does not apply to the landowners who accepted money from Constitution for the easement. They made a binding agreement that travels with their deed to subsequent owners. Constitution can sell the easements without informing those landowners.

This outcome proves that the perseverance of landowners can pay off at the end of a successful fight against pipelines – but only if compensation has not been paid.”

If you have received compensation from PennEast, you should consult with your own attorneys as your terms may be unique to you alone.

August 2020 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 9/7/2020

On Sept. 2nd the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded the
opportunity to comment on the Environmental Assessment for the new Phase 1 (PA
only) pipeline project.
The 30-day comment period garnered 638 comments from
opponents of the project. The FERC assessment focused only on the single added
metering and regulation station at Church Rd. in Bethlehem Twp. This narrow review
drew many objections and calls for a full Environmental Impact Study (EIS). Many
commenters questioned the need for the pipeline since only half of the proposed
capacity has been contracted for, and those contracts are with partners in the PennEast
project itself. They point out that the market is saying that the pipeline is not needed.
PennEast says that prompt approval of the pipeline is needed in order for PennEast to
be operational in the 2021-22 winter heating season.

One of the comments filed was from the Niskanen Center in cooperation with the
New Jersey Conservation Fund and the Watershed Institute.
The comment was filed
on behalf of seven Carbon County landowners and three landowners from Northampton
County. The extensive comment was obviously a precursor to a lawsuit should the FERC
approve the Environmental Assessment and grant the Phase I project permission to
construct. The seven Carbon County landowners represented by the Niskanen Center
are Roy and Linda Christman, Eric McKeever, Peggy Ermlick, Joseph Plechavy, Albertine
Anthony, and Judy Walck and Jerry Walk on behalf of Barbara Walk. The pipeline’s
impacts on each landowner’s plans for their own property were detailed in the filing.
The Niskanen Center is a “right of center” think tank that views the taking by eminent
domain in these pipeline cases as a violation of private property rights and an over-
reach by the federal government.

As a past practice, when FERC was confronted with a rehearing request, which is
required prior to filing a lawsuit, the FERC would issue a “tolling order” and refuse to act
on the rehearing request while allowing construction of the disputed pipeline to
proceed. It was not unusual for tolling orders to consume a year or more of time during
which the pipeline would be fully constructed thus denying the plaintiffs their day in
court. Last year, a Federal Appeals Court ruled that this use of tolling orders violated the
right of landowners to seek redress in court and was thus unconstitutional. Plaintiffs
will be playing with a whole new set of rules when requests for rehearing are filed.

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.”

September HALT Update – September 7th, 2020


The FERC comment period is now closed. Our collective grassroots effort resulted in more than 500 comments being submitted! Thank you!


The next business meeting of the DRBC is on September 10th at 10:30am. All public comment speaking slots are now filled. You can still listen to the meeting as follows:

Instructions to Participate on September 10:

Also, you can register to be an interested party with DRBC regarding the PennEast application by providing your name, address and email information to penneastapp@drbc.gov or sending your contact information by mail to DRBC, Attn.: Project Review Section, P.O. Box 7360, 25 Cosey Road, West Trenton, NJ 08628. When registered, you will receive direct notice of information related to DRBC’s review, including the Notice of Application Received (NAR) and Public Hearing Notice, when issued. A formal public comment period, including details concerning the commission’s public hearings and methods for submitting written comments, will be announced upon publication of the draft docket.


While the formal comment period is not yet open, we are requesting that you submit written comments to penneastapp@drbc.gov urging them to reject PennEast’s application. There is no deadline at present. The DRBC invites comments on matters not yet scheduled on their docket so let’s keep up the momentum and provide them!

WHAT TO SAY : Below are samples of comments made at the last DRBC meeting. Feel free to copy all or parts of and use as your own. You can incorporate the comments into one email but the more comments you send the better! Also, additional topics to comment on can be found on Mike Spille’s website: https://www.pipeinfo.org/drbc

Comment 1

PennEast has repeatedly disregarded the Commission’s authority. First, PennEast withdrew their previous application and asserted that the Commission did not have jurisdiction over Phase I of the new project they’ve submitted to FERC. When the Commission appropriately corrected PennEast on this, PennEast said they would “voluntarily” submit an application if the Commission agreed to review it on their arbitrary and overly aggressive timeline.

PennEast has blatantly attempted to skirt the Commission’s review by arguing that their project doesn’t constitute a project, and by playing a shell game in an effort to make it appear that they don’t meet the commission’s thresholds. To the Commission’s credit you have firmly and appropriately rejected these hollow claims.

I urge you to reject PennEast’s application without prejudice.

Comment 2

Whatever project PennEast asks FERC to certificate must also be reviewed by the Commission.  PennEast has asked FERC to certificate building the entire pipeline in two phases. Yet, PennEast has only submitted an application to the commission for Phase I. They can’t have it both ways and submit different versions of the project to multiple agencies as it suits their needs.

The Commission must demand that PennEast submit an application for the entire route so that the full impacts of the project to the DRBC can be evaluated.

By submitting a Phase I only, PennEast is attempting to segment the Commissions Review and artificially minimize the impact of the project to the Basin’s water resources.

For Example, in their application to the Commission, PennEast States that Phase I will impact 17.3 acres of wetland within 30’ of the maintained row, pointing out that this falls below one of the Commission’s thresholds of 25 acres of wetlands impacted. However, if PennEast were to submit both Phases, the project would clearly exceed this threshold, as Phase II would impact an additional 19 acres of wetland in New Jersey.

Considering one half at a time of a two-phase project would conceal the true and cumulative impact of a project that will have significant and unacceptable impacts to the water resources that you are charged with protecting.

Although Phase I would still fall under the commission’s’ review, I urge you to require that PennEast submit all necessary information for Phase II of the project so the Commission reviews the same project that is currently before FERC, and fully evaluates the impacts to the Delaware River Basin.