Even with FERC Environmental Impact Statement, pipeline could face uphill fight at Department of Environmental Protection, Delaware River Basin Commission
Credit: Susan Phillips/StateImpact Pennsylvania
With a key federal win in hand, the PennEast natural-gas pipeline takes its fight to a more local venue, seeking essential permits from the state of New Jersey and the Delaware River Basin Commission.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the PennEast Pipeline Co.’s approximately 120-mile conduit on Friday, a step likely to be followed by approval of a certificate of public convenience and necessity once the commission adds a member and gains a quorum.
The approval, coming after a contentious three-year review by the feds, shifts the dispute to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the DRBC, where the $1 billion project faces scrutiny from agencies with many outstanding questions, particularly the impact of the pipeline on drinking water in the region.
“Both could be really significant hurdles,’’ predicted Tom Gilbert, campaign director for ReThink Energy NJ and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “FERC’s flawed review of the PennEast project failed to thoroughly examine the significant environmental impacts the pipeline would cause.’’
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