Outraged citizens, elected officials and homeowners along the route of the PennEast pipeline joined together on 22 January to protest the issuance of a conditional certificate by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on 19 January.
The conditional certificate issued by PennEast requires the pipeline company to obtain permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Delaware River Basin Commission before it can commence construction. Concerned New Jerseyans called upon NJDEP to again reject the pipeline, given the threat the pipeline could have to water resources, preserved open spaces and endangered species.
“Taking private property for an unneeded and harmful pipeline, that is not in the public interest, is un-American. As impacted homeowners, we are bound-and-determined to stop it and will consider every legal tool at our disposal,” said Vince DiBianca, member of HALT PennEast (Homeowners Against Land Taking).
The issuance of the certificate by FERC means that PennEast likely will start trying to seize land from scores of homeowners, towns and land trusts through eminent domain. In November 2017, NJ Conservation filed a legal challenge against FERC because the federal agency violated the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution by failing to prove that pipelines serve the public good before granting companies the right to seize private property for the infrastructure through eminent domain.
The FERC decision to grant PennEast a conditional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity was expected. In its 30 year history, the agency has only rejected two pipelines.
Before the pipeline can be constructed, PennEast must obtain a key water permit from NJDEP, whose standards are significantly more rigorous than those used by FERC.
“The NJDEP is now on the frontlines of protecting New Jersey’s land and water from Trump administration policies that favour the promotion of big energy profits over our state’s most sensitive natural resources,” said Jim Waltman, Executive Director, Stony Brook – Millstone Watershed Association.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/23012018/citizens-join-together-to-protest-penneast/