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FERC Approves PennEast Pipeline: Opponents Look to Clean Water Act to Stop 'Dangerous and Unneeded' Project

Energy

A controversial natural gas pipeline project with a proposed route through New Jersey can move forward, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Friday.

Owners of the proposed $1.2 billion PennEast Pipeline, which would carry shale gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey, said they are planning to begin construction this year following the certificate of public convenience granted by FERC on Friday.


Opponents of the project say the pipeline still needs to clear several hurdles at the state level, and point to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who campaigned on an environment and clean energy agenda and spoke out against PennEast on the campaign trail. Activists along the nearly 120-mile route vowed to continue fighting against the pipeline, and protests are planned in New Jersey Monday in response to the decision.

"FERC is basically working for the pipeline companies rather than for the people they are supposed to represent," Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club director, said in a statement. "It's shameful that FERC can approve a pipeline without even applications for state or federal permits. FERC is the 'Federal Expedited Rubberstamp Commission.'

"Now the fight begins," he added. "We will organize to stop this pipeline that people vigorously approve. PennEast has a long way to go and many permits to get. We also have a new Governor who opposes the project. We won't stop until we stop this dangerous and unneeded pipeline."

As reported by NJ Spotlight:

"'Now, the real environmental review begins—the ones that FERC did not do,' said Tom Gilbert, campaign director of ReThink Energy NJ and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. He particularly cited the state's authority in issuing a 401 permit under the Clean Water Act.

'We don't see any way this pipeline can be built and meet those standards,' said Gilbert, noting the route of the project crosses 38 C-1 streams, the most pristine in the state. 'If they enforce regulations, this project won't pass muster.'"

For a deeper dive:

NJ Spotlight, Trentonian, Philadelphia Inquirer, Allentown Morning Call, Lehigh Valley Live, MyCentralJersey, MercerMe, Lockport Press, Pocono Record. Commentary: Morris County Daily Record editorial

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