The Watershed Institute applauded today’s statement from the PennEast Company indicating that it has “ceased all further development of the project.”
“This is a huge victory. Today, water, the environment and people spoke louder than fossil fuels,” said Jim Waltman, the Watershed’s Executive Director. “We congratulate and thank the many local, state, and federal officials of both parties and thousands of residents for their determined opposition to this unnecessary and destructive proposal.”
In a final confirmation letter on Nov. 30, PennEast Pipeline Company told federal officials that the member companies have stopped all further development of the $1 billion pipeline project.
In a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Jeffrey England, the PennEast Pipeline project manager, said member companies determined that further development could not move forward due to the challenges in acquiring certain permits needed for construction to begin such as a water quality permit and other wetlands permits for the New Jersey portion of the project.
The proposed natural gas pipeline would have spanned 116-miles from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, requiring condemnation of 42 parcels of Garden State-owned-or-controlled lands. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC could sue New Jersey to take the land.
“The proposed pipeline would have ripped through dozens of our state’s most pristine streams and bulldozed through more than 4,300 acres of farmland and open space that has been ostensibly preserved in perpetuity,” Waltman continued.
The Watershed Institute and other environmental advocates have fought the proposed pipeline through regulatory and legal means since it was first announced seven years ago.
“From the beginning, it was clear to us that this PennEast proposal was in severe conflict with the state’s strong environmental protections,” Waltman said. “As we and others have urged, through two administrations, the state of New Jersey has consistently held PennEast to the Garden State’s strict environmental laws.”
Waltman also said he hoped the withdrawal of the PennEast Pipeline marked a departure from our enchantment with fossil fuels. “Our future energy needs must be met through greater investment in renewable energy sources, not additional fossil fuel projects that contribute to climate change.”
Today’s New York Times displayed an interactive map showing offshore oil and natural gas spills into the Gulf of Mexico that degrade water quality and natural resources in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Waltman compared the significance of the defeat of the proposed PennEast Pipeline to the successful effort that blocked construction of a segment of Interstate-95 proposed in the 1960s and 1970s through central New Jersey’s environmentally sensitive Hopewell Valley and Sourland Mountain region.
“Fifty years ago, The Watershed Institute and the residents of this region fought an ill-advised segment of I-95 that would have harmed this area’s water and environment. —in 1973, that segment of the highway became one of only a small number that was eventually de-authorized. The defeat of the PennEast Pipeline stands on a par with that victory,” Waltman said.