PennEast Company Suspends Bid To Take New Jersey Lands

September 22nd, 2021

The Watershed Institute is thrilled by a statement from the PennEast Company today indicating that it will suspend efforts to condemn land in New Jersey to build its proposed fossil gas pipeline.

The Watershed Institute and other advocates have fought the proposed pipeline through regulatory and legal means since it was first announced seven years ago.

The dismissal of these condemnation suits in New Jersey, and earlier in Pennsylvania, is a strong indication that the project will not move forward because the proposed pipeline cannot be built along the proposed route without these lands.

The state of New Jersey has consistently held PennEast to the Garden State’s strict environmental laws and prospects for regulatory approval appear dim.

“This is very good news for New Jersey’s environment and communities,” said Jim Waltman, the Watershed’s Executive Director. “The proposal would rip through dozens of our state’s most pristine streams and bulldoze through more than 4,300 acres of farmland and open space that has been ostensibly preserved in perpetuity.”

According to a report from Politico, PennEast cited those ongoing hurdles as reasons to suspend its land condemnation efforts.

“Given the uncertainty on timing to resolve the remaining legal and regulatory hurdles, however, PennEast believes it is not prudent to complete the acquisition of the rights of way in the pending actions as it might not be necessary for some time,” company spokesperson Patricia Kornick said in an email. “PennEast is exploring with attorneys representing landowners the idea of dismissing the actions without prejudice and restarting legal proceedings once it clears the regulatory hurdles and has a better understanding of when it would need to acquire the property interests.”

Waltman also raised concerns about the climate impacts of additional fossil fuel infrastructure like the proposed PennEast Pipeline. “Our future energy needs must be met through greater investment in renewable energy sources, not additional fossil fuel projects that contribute to climate change.”

PennEast’s statement suggested that this may be only a temporary suspension of its efforts, but the Watershed is encouraged by the development.

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