The War to Build PennEast Pipeline Continues

It’s been almost a year since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the PennEast Pipeline project, a $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). DTE Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline, a 255-mile pipeline from Columbia County in Ohio to Southern Michigan, received its FERC approval around the same time. NEXUS is already built and flowing, PennEast hasn’t turned the first shovelful of dirt yet. What’s going on?
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Bumbling DRBC Doesn’t Know Who to Contact at FERC to Block PennEast

Talk about a dysfunctional mess…The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a governmental organization remote-controlled by Big Green special interests, doesn’t even know how to communicate with another governmental organization–the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Earlier this year, at the prompting of radical groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, DRBC sent a request to FERC asking the agency to block any tree felling ahead of a final approval by DRBC for the PennEast Pipeline–even though FERC and NOT the DRBC is the authorizing agency for PennEast. FERC doesn’t have to wait for anybody for any of its decisions. Regardless, FERC does listen, especially to fellow governmental organizations. FERC gets a LOT of mail, email, etc. from complainers like the DRBC, so they have strict protocols in place for how other agencies and parties talk to it. DRBC should have sent their request to FERC Secretary Kimberly Bose (she’s held that position and has been the point person since 2007), but DRBC didn’t follow protocol. Instead, they just fired off their huffy demand to someone else in a different department, so their huffy demand never got considered. Totally blown off. Funny! And now DRBC is scrambling, attempting to cover up the fact they’re so dysfunctional they don’t their know their heads from their…we’ll just leave it at that…
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NJ Rate Counsel Asks Fed Court to Overturn PennEast Pipe Approval

Using taxpayer’s money, the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, an “independent” state agency that supposedly represents the interests of consumers of electric, natural gas, water/sewer, telecommunications, cable TV service, and insurance (residential, small business, commercial and industrial customers), has sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in federal court asking the court to overturn FERC’s approval of the PennEast Pipeline, a $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton, NJ area. Most of PennEast is located in PA, but the pipeline terminates and flows gas into NJ. The Rate Counsel appears to be a rogue agency using taxpayer’s money to try and defeat a project that will benefit those very taxpayers. NJ residents pay some of the highest taxes in the country. Now we know why…
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FERC Rejects PennEast Pipe Rehearing Request – Antis Sue

Elvis – song & dance

Last Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a rehearing request by radical enviro groups with respect to the PennEast Pipeline project. That is, FERC said “we’re sticking with our original decision to approve the project.” In January, FERC voted 4-1 to approve the $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). FERC Commissioner Richard “Dick” Glick voted against the project claiming it will lead to more man-made global warming. But the other Dem FERC Commissioner, Cheyl LaFleur, voted to approve it–at least in January. In Friday’s “order on rehearing” LaFleur flipped and said she’s had second thoughts about the project. She voted “in part” to rehear the original decision. Glick voted to rehear. Bottom line: both LaFleur and Glick want to kill the PennEast project. That’s the upshot of Friday’s FERC communication. Unfortunately FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson has abandoned us and we will now face a 2-2 deadlock on key decisions like this one for the foreseeable future–because Senate Democrats will block a vote on a new, third, Republican member of the Commission until after the November election. Thanks Rob. The radical anti groups that filed the rehearing request–THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum) and the NJ Sierra Club (aka Jeff Tittel)–immediately filed lawsuits with the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The antis could only take their case to court once FERC had denied a rehearing request. That’s the song and dance routine we must go through on the way to fighting to build every square inch of any new pipeline project in the northeast. Pipeline company files application, FERC approves, radical groups request a rehearing, rehearing denied, lawsuit filed. That’s the formula that plays out over and over again. Below is a copy of FERC’s approval along with details about antis filing their lawsuits…
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Riverkeeper Too Late to Challenge Penn East Pipe Water Certificate

In Feb. 2017, THE Delaware Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit challenging water permits issued by PA for the PennEast Pipeline (see PennEast Pipeline Gets 401 Water Quality Certificate from PA DEP). Riverkeeper filed their challenge late, arguing it was confused over where to file the challenge–in federal or state court. Commonwealth Court told Riverkeeper nice try, but no cigar. Last Wednesday Commonwealth Court told Riverkeeper, “you’re too late.” The court said Riverkeeper’s “confusion” over where they should file is not justification for filing WAY past the deadline to challenge the permit. We doubt Riverkeeper even thought this particular lawsuit (one of dozens they’ve launched against PennEast) would bear fruit. This is just one more instance of Riverkeeper’s “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” legal strategy. This particular handful fell to the ground…
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THE Delaware Riverkeeper Loses FERC Bias Court Case

Maya van Rossum

Maya van Rossum, THE Delaware Riverkeeper (as she calls herself) has struck out once again in federal court. THE van Rossum, with backing by Big Green lawyer Jordan Yeager, asked a federal court to rule that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is biased in favor of approving pipeline projects (specifically the PennEast Pipeline) because part of the agency’s funding, via permit fees, comes from the companies it regulates. It’s Miss Maya’s attempt at shutting down all approvals for any pipeline anywhere in the United States–including PennEast. Why use a fly swatter when you can use a hammer, right? Fortunately, the judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t fall for the ruse. The judges ruled last week that FERC’s decisions about authorizing projects are not tied to, nor influenced by, how the agency is funded. Period. In typical fashion, Riverkeeper complained that the decision didn’t go their way, lying about FERC’s “nearly 100% approval rate.” We’ve explained that approval rate before. FERC project approvals are multi-staged. Pipeline projects either fix issues FERC finds in an initial review, or the sponsors pull the projects from active consideration. The end result is that pipeline projects either meet FERC’s high standards, or they don’t get built…
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Democrat FERC Commissioner Seeks to Block PennEast Pipe

FERC Commissioner Richard Glick

In January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted 4-1 to approve the $1 billion, 120-mile PennEast Pipeline project that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). Democrat FERC Commissioner Richard Glick (wind lobbyist, hand-picked by hyper-partisan NY Sen. Chuck Schumer), voted against approving the project. A number of Big Green groups filed a request for a “rehearing” of FERC’s decision to approve PennEast. FERC used a “tolling order,” which gives them longer than the statutory 30 days to respond, to play out the rehearing request. The use of tolling orders is the only way to get projects built these days. FERC has to play the game–put off saying “no” to these anti groups, because as soon as they tell them “no” to a rehearing request, antis then run to the courts and try to block the project there. Glick is siding with antis. He issued a statement last week once again trash-talking PennEast, and demanding FERC answer the groups rehearing request pronto so they can hurry like a bunny to the nearest Appeals court to try to stop PennEast…
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Top NJ Officials Continue Attacks Against PennEast Pipeline

New Jersey’s Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal (Democrat), and New Jersey Senator Corey Booker (also a Democrat) continue a coordinated attack on the PennEast Pipeline in an effort to appease their radical/left base of supporters. PennEast is a $1 billion, 120-mile, 36-inch pipeline from Dallas (Luzerne County), PA to Pennington (Mercer County), NJ. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the project in January (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). Since that time the NJ Sierra Club along with other so-called environmental organizations have coordinated legal and regulatory attacks against the project, enlisting willing accomplices Grewal and Booker. In March Grewal asked the U.S. District Court in NJ to overturn PennEast’s federally-delegated right to use eminent domain to take state-owned AND private-owned property in the path of the pipeline. In early April, Sen. Booker asked FERC to reconsider its approval of the project. And earlier this week, the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection and Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, represented by Grewal, asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review FERC’s January approval of the project. NJ has all guns out and shooting in an attempt to assassinate PennEast…
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NJ & PA Could Have Saved $1.3 Billion if PennEast Were Live

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Too bad it takes so long to approve a new natural gas pipeline like PennEast–a $1 billion, 120-mile, 36-inch pipeline from Dallas (Luzerne County), PA to Pennington (Mercer County), NJ. Why does it take so long–years, in fact? Well there’s the federal regulatory process. But then there are the multiple, ongoing challenges from Big Green groups, people who irrationally hate all fossil fuels. Big Green launches lawsuit after lawsuit in an attempt to bury projects like PennEast in legal horse manure. One of the chief purveyors of said horse manure is THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum). What if PennEast had been built two years ago, right after filing their well-laid-out, safe plan? If it had been built, consumers in PA and NJ over the past two winters would have saved $1.3 billion, according to a new study by Concentric (full copy below). Can you imagine the good things that could be done with an extra $1.3 billion in the hands of private citizens? All of the economic benefits that would ripple through the economies of PA and NJ? Instead, all of that benefit is being blocked by a few radical greens…
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Trout Unlimited Launches Spy/Snitch Program for PennEast Pipeline

Let’s be right up front about how we feel about the innocent-sounding Trout Unlimited (TU). Four years ago the organization was outed as a radical, far-left environmentalist group–hellbent on opposing fossil fuels (see Trout Unlimited, Other Groups Outted as Radical Green Groups). We have zero respect for the organization. Yes, there are some well-meaning (hoodwinked, misguided) people who belong to it. Good people. But tricked into supporting an anti-American, anti-fossil fuel agenda. (You need to get out!) TU has just announced a new spy/snitch training program to keep an eye on the PennEast Pipeline–when it actually starts to get built. TU will soon begin training for a so-called “water monitoring” program in PA counties where PennEast will run–Luzerne, Carbon, Northampton and Bucks counties. To which we say, knock yourselves out. PennEast has nothing to hide. The pipeline won’t negatively impact waterways–not in any meaningful, long-term way. So if you want to spy and snitch, go right ahead. There won’t be anything to snitch about…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Demands DRBC Seize Control, Block PennEast

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, issued a letter/petition to THE Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) back in February–which escaped our notice at the time. The petition demands that the DRBC “man up” and exercise complete and total authority over the PennEast Pipeline project–and stop it cold by prohibiting tree clearing. Riverkeeper maintains that if tree clearing is allowed to begin, it will negatively impact water supplies in the Delaware River Basin–therefore it’s within the DRBC’s purview, in fact responsibility, to take hold of the situation and stop it. This is just one of a many-pronged attack by Riverkeeper to try and stop PennEast, a 120-mile pipeline that will run from near Wilkes-Barre, PA to near Trenton, NJ. The planned route passes through Luzerne, Carbon, Northampton, and Bucks counties in PA, and through Mercer and Hunterdon counties in NJ. The pipeline is needed to move PA’s abundant Marcellus gas to markets in NJ. Last week we told you about Riverkeeper’s latest lawsuits to stop PennEast (see Desperate Riverkeeper Files Multiple Lawsuits re PennEast Pipe). All it would take is for one court, or one quasi-government agency like DRBC, to put a kibosh to the project, which is what Riverkeeper is so desperately trying to do…
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Desperate Riverkeeper Files Multiple Lawsuits re PennEast Pipe

Knowing that the PennEast Pipeline project is about to become reality, a very desperate THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum) has launched a major legal attack against the project–using Big Green money. These are not the first legal filings by Riverkeeper against PennEast. The current strategy appears to be “bury them in legal horse manure.” PennEast Pipeline is a 120-mile pipeline from near Wilkes-Barre, PA to near Trenton, NJ. The planned route passes through Luzerne, Carbon, Northampton, and Bucks counties in PA, and through Mercer and Hunterdon counties in NJ. The pipeline is needed to move PA’s abundant Marcellus gas to markets in NJ. The first “legal maneuver” by Riverkeeper this week was to file a petition for a “Writ of Mandamus” in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the court to force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to respond to Riverkeeper’s rehearing request on the PennEast project. At the same time, Riverkeeper filed a “Petition for Review” with the D.C. Circuit Court of appeals challenging all of FERC’s orders related to PennEast. It is a full, frontal legal attack by a small organization fronting for other groups like the William Penn Foundation. The question is, will Riverkeeper’s latest attack work?…
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Northampton County Wants Jury Trial re PennEast Eminent Domain

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PennEast Pipeline, a 120-mile pipeline from near Wilkes-Barre, PA to near Trenton, NJ., is in the unenviable position of having to sue a few holdout landowners who refuse to negotiate in good faith to allow the federally-approved pipeline from crossing their property. Northampton County, PA is one of those landowners. PennEast Pipeline will traverse Northampton-owed conservation easements along its route. Northampton wouldn’t negotiate, so PennEast sued. Northampton wants a jury trial, supposedly to stop PennEast–but we think it’s really because they want more money for the conservation easements, something they appear to admit in a recent article…
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NJDEP Hail Mary – Pleads with FERC to Stop PennEast Pipeline

The now fully politicized New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), along with the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, filed a joint request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last Friday asking FERC to reconsider and rescind its approval of the PennEast Pipeline project, which FERC granted just last month (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). PennEast is a $1 billion, 120-mile primarily 36-inch natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Dallas (Luzerne County), PA to Transco’s pipeline interconnection near Pennington (Mercer County), NJ. The pipeline is an important conduit to move gas from the prolific gas fields of northeastern PA to markets in southeast PA and New Jersey. From the beginning of the project there have been a collection of so-called environmental organizations opposing it–including THE Delaware Riverkeeper, NJ Sierra Club, and the NJ Conservation Foundation. All radical groups. Unfortunately NJ elected an authoritarian Democrat as governor–Phil Murphy–who pledged to try and stop the project (see Dem Candidate for NJ Gov Opposes PennEast, After He $upported It). Murphy (a tool of Big Green) has politicized the NJDEP and has caused them to dance to his radical tune. In addition to receiving a formal request by NJDEP, FERC also received the same request from the nutty Sierra Club (no surprise there), and also a far-left Democrat State Senator, who is using the request as a fundraiser for his next campaign…
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PennEast Pipeline Cuts $1.7M Deal with Bethlehem Water Authority

In a sure sign that the $1.1 billion, 120-mile PennEast Pipeline will get built, the Bethlehem Authority, which manages watershed land in the Pocono Mountains that supplies drinking water for the City of Bethlehem, has signed a $1.7 million deal to allow PennEast to traverse four miles of Authority land. Rather than challenge PennEast and potentially lose an eminent domain case, Bethlehem Authority officials said they brokered the deal–not only for the money it will bring in, but also to ensure there are certain protections in place during construction. The State of New Jersey is trying its best to stop the PennEast project (see NJ Continues to Hassle PennEast Pipe with Refusals & Rejections). However, this deal with Bethlehem Authority is yet another sign of the inevitability of the project. NJ is fighting an uphill battle they will lose. Wiser heads in Bethlehem realize that fact and took the right action to get the best deal possible…
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