Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FERC gets a quorum, will PennEast get its pipeline?

Two commissioners have been approved at agency, opening way for project to use eminent domain to gather environmental data along its route
natural gas pipeline


Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

After months of setbacks, the PennEast Pipeline is looking
to get back on track, and last week’s approval of two new commissioners to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission might be the ticket.
With the confirmation of the commissioners by the U.S. Senate, the agency now has a quorum, allowing it to take up an estimated $14 billion in energy infrastructure projects awaiting action — including the $1 billion, 120-mile project in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that has provoked such an outcry.
PennEast is hoping to have a staff-proposed Final Environmental Impact Statement approved by the commission, a step that could lead to a certificate of necessity and allow it to exercise eminent domain authority to access properties along its proposed route.
With many property owners balking at granting access to their land, the company has been unable to provide crucial data to state environmental officials to begin reviewing permits it needs for the project to move forward.

The company anticipates it will obtain approval from the commission for the final EIS and the issuing of a certificate this summer, according to Pat Kornick, a spokeswoman for PennEast.
The developer submitted information to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in June for two key permit it needs, but the state rejected the applications because the company failed to provide information along the proposed route.
The project is widely opposed on both sides of the Delaware River due to fears it will adversely affect drinking water and traverse farmland and open space set aside for preservation, according to opponents. They also argue that the pipeline is unnecessary.
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