Watershed Requests A New Hearing PennEast

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and a partner environmental group today filed a request for a rehearing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s conditional certificate for the proposed PennEast Pipeline.

The two nonprofits also requested that FERC stay its “certificate of public convenience and necessity”, issued on Jan 19, until the commission decides the outcome of the requested rehearing.

Among the issues raised in the challenge by the Watershed and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the certificate:

  • Violates the Natural Gas Act by failing to demonstrate substantial evidence that the project is required by the public convenience and necessity or is in the public interest. Read an analysis here. 
  • Violates the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by granting PennEast the power to take private and public property without meeting the legal standards for condemnation.
  • Relies on an incomplete and self-acknowledged deficient environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The environmental study relied on by FERC, the Final Environmental Impact Statement, was incomplete and deficient.

“FERC failed to consider the magnitude of the damage that PennEast would cause to our water, land and natural resources – and acted before New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection had its chance to review the project’s harm to natural resources, “ said Jim Waltman, executive director, Stony Brook – Millstone Watershed Association. “We will not stand by while these natural resources are lost for a project that is unneeded and unwanted by the people of New Jersey.”

In addition to the shoddy environmental review, FERC ignored data and multiple reports that demonstrate there is no need for the pipeline.  This data came from industry experts as well as the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel.

The proposed PennEast pipeline, which in New Jersey would run through Hunterdon and Mercer counties, still has a long way to go before its first shovel hits the ground. The proposed pipeline can’t be built without approval from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC).