Jacqueline Evans at her home in Delaware Township, NJ on September 27, 2021.
AP Photo / Matt Rourke
TRENTON, NJ (AP) – Construction of a nearly 120-mile (193-kilometer) pipeline project between northeastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey will not go ahead, said Monday the group behind the project.
PennEast Pipeline Company, which won a recent Supreme Court legal battle against New Jersey, however, said the state had failed to provide some permits and was putting the project on hold.
âPennEast partners, following extensive evaluation and discussion, recently determined that further development of the project is no longer supported. As a result, PennEast has ceased further development of the project, âspokesperson Pat Kornick said in an email.
The move is the latest step in a long-term effort to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale area of ââPennsylvania. It is also a major victory for environmental groups who opposed the project, arguing that it would cut a scar in the landscape, threaten wildlife and contribute to the use of fossil fuels.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, facing re-election this year, said Monday he was happy the project did not go ahead. He opposed the project for a long time.
âThis one was bad. It would have destroyed our state and as long as I’m here it won’t happen, âMurphy said.
Opponents of the pipeline held a remote video conference to perform a sort of victory tower. The decision of the pipeline company was touching for some.
“It’s a relief,” said Terese Buchanan, resident along the proposed route and longtime opponent.
Jacqueline Evans, whose property in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, sits along the proposed trail, described a drainage process opposite the pipeline. She said she found surveyors on her land without permission and saw her children worrying about what would happen to the wildlife and the land.
âAll of a sudden, a place that you think is safe feels threatened,â she said. âThe stress has been incredible,â she said.
It is not known if PennEast will continue the project again if circumstances change.
Groups supporting the project lamented its apparent demise, saying it would have provided affordable energy to residents.
“If we cannot get this gas to where it is needed because of the regulatory and legal challenges of those who simply impose higher energy bills on working families, we are effectively abandoning this strategic US asset,” said Amy Andryszak, President and CEO. agent for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, which supported the pipeline.
In Pennsylvania, trade associations, labor unions and the huge natural gas industry have pushed for pipeline projects to help get gas from Marcellus Shale’s vast formation to new markets. They say such avenues will help drive up wellhead prices which are artificially low due to such constraints.
Canceling the project means taxpayers pay more for gas and electricity, the economy will lose thousands of construction jobs, and states in the northeast or central Atlantic will be forced to depend on imported fuels, said Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber. of Commerce and Industry.
New Jersey regulated utilities told the state utilities commission that they may not have enough gas to meet winter demand, when natural gas is an important fuel for the manufacturing sector, Barr said.
PennEast, a company made up of five different energy companies, has obtained federal and Pennsylvania approvals, including a key certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that could allow the company to use a prominent estate to acquire land.
In June, the United States Supreme Court said companies that build interstate pipelines can get the land they need even in the face of state opposition, once their projects get caught on fire. green from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations had backed PennEast. Nineteen states had urged the Supreme Court to rule the other way around and side with New Jersey.
New Jersey had not issued water quality certification and other wetland permits under the Clean Water Act for that state’s portion of the project, according to PennEast.
PennEast’s application to federal regulators dates back to 2015, although it started pushing for the project in 2014. The company argued the project would create jobs and lower-cost natural gas in the region.