NJ DEP Keeps Badmouthing PennEast Pipeline

PennEast Pipeline route through NJ

PennEast Pipeline is caught between a rock and a hard place in New Jersey, and the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) isn’t lifting a finger to help. In April, MDN told you NJDEP has temporarily rejected PennEast Pipeline’s Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permit and Water Quality Certificate application, submitted April 6 (see NJ DEP Temporarily Rejects PennEast Request for Wetland Permits). NJDEP said in their response that PennEast has not provided enough detail about the project–leaving out key pieces of information for two-thirds of the pipeline’s 37-mile trek through NJ. NJDEP says they want the application refiled within 30 days, and if PennEast doesn’t give them what they want within 60 days, the DEP will consider the application “withdrawn.” Here’s the Catch-22: In order to get the details needed via surveys, PennEast needs access to property. But many NJ landowners have been convinced by groups like the odious Sierra Club to deny permission. So PennEast can’t do their surveys to get the details needed for the the NJDEP. Since it’s a federally approved project, NJDEP certainly won’t issue eminent domain to allow PennEast access to survey. For that, PennEast must wait on FERC. It’s rumored that FERC will grant eminent domain sometime this summer for PennEast to allow them the right to access NJ (and PA) properties of holdout landowners. Antis are elated and breathlessly say PennEast will be delayed for months, maybe years (doing things like multi-year surveys on plants). PennEast continues to say the NJDEP’s responses are routine and being handled. Who’s right?…

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