The State of New Jersey has reinforced its commitment to its 60 year open space programme by rejecting offer letters from PennEast Pipeline Co. to purchase rights to build a 36 in. natural gas pipeline across taxpayer preserved lands.
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Since the programme’s inception in 1969, no lands owned or managed by the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust (NJNLT) have been condemned through eminent domain, according to the NJNLT.
The lands were preserved with taxpayer dollars by New Jersey voters and set aside for the public and future generations to enjoy. Open space preservation protects wildlife habitats and wetlands that filter air and drinking water and reduce flooding, and prevents soil erosion.
Following the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) conditional approval of PennEast’s application, the company made final offers to acquire land rights from the state, land trusts and hundreds of landowners in the pipeline’s proposed path. PennEast set a deadline of 5 February for the offers, and stated that the private company will attempt to seize the lands through legal action if the offers are refused.
New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJ Conservation), the largest land trust within the densely populated state, applauded the State’s move and said today that it has also rejected PennEast’s offers to negotiate over the land NJ Conservation owns.
FERC issued a certificate for PennEast despite criticism from the NJ Division of Rate Counsel and energy experts that there is no public need for the project. FERC’s approval was conditioned on the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) review. On Friday 2 February, the NJDEP officially denied PennEast’s 2017 application, although PennEast may reapply.
PennEast’s construction plans would involve installing its pipeline across 4300 acres of permanently preserved open space and farmland.
PennEast is now expected to try to seize these lands through eminent domain.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/06022018/new-jersey-rejects-penneast-land-offer-letters/