September 2020 Report To Stakeholders



PennEast/UGI Pipeline Project- Prepared 10/1/2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not only known for her record on Women’s and Civil Rights, but she
also left an important environmental legacy.
One of the often-cited decisions written by
Ginsburg for the majority is Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services. The case
revolved around a wastewater treatment plant that had exceeded permit limits on mercury
discharges. One of the issues was whether the group of plaintiffs had “standing.” Ginsburg
wrote that they did have standing, not based on a personal injury per se, but on how the
pollution hampered their use of the river. Ginsburg wrote that the plaintiffs had standing,
“…the testimony presented by Friends of the Earth in this case assert that Laidlaw’s discharges
and the affiant members’ reasonable concerns about the effects of those discharges, directly
affected those affiants’ recreational, aesthetic, and economic interests,” Ginsburg wrote. The
Laidlaw decision is often used to give standing to groups who are not directly and personally
affected by environmental damage. Without standing, there is no means of redress through
the courts.

On Sept. 17th , the judge in the Constitution Pipeline eminent domain proceedings ordered
the reversal of condemnation orders
and the pipeline company was directed to ensure that
properties which were subject to eminent domain proceedings will have pipeline easements
removed from county property records. Property owners who accepted monies for their
easements (even though they were under threat of condemnation) will continue to have
pipeline easements through their property because they “voluntarily” entered into these
agreements. The Constitution Pipeline company is free to sell those easements for use by
other pipeline companies even though the Constitution Pipeline is now defunct. The
Constitution Pipeline was planned to begin in Pennsylvania and continue through New York
State but the pipeline was stopped when New York refused to grant permits under the Clean
Water Act.

Officials of the Marcellus Shale Coalition believe that litigation around the permitting of US
oil and gas projects has made the timing of financial returns for large capital investments
leading some companies to avoid pipeline projects. Recent appeals court rulings
have resulted in some significant setbacks for major oil and gas projects in the eastern U.S.
The officials cited the PennEast Pipeline loss at the Court of Appeals as an example. PennEast
has spent half a billion dollars and six years but has not yet begun construction. There have
been several recent rulings against pipeline builders that were also cited. My gosh we are sad
about this.

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.”