Friday, January 31, 2020

PennEast Natural Gas Pipeline Seeks FERC Approval To Build PA Part First

On January 31, PennEast Pipeline Company LLC announced the filing of an amendment with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct the pipeline in two phases, the first being the 68 miles in Pennsylvania and then the remaining 50 miles in New Jersey.
The pipeline route would be located in Luzerne, Northampton, Carbon and Bucks counties.
Under the phased approach, PennEast will have within Pennsylvania three delivery points: UGI Utilities, Inc. (to serve the Blue Mountain Ski Resort) and new interconnections with Columbia Gas and Adelphia Gateway to serve the growing demand in the southeast region.
“PennEast has always been vital to fulfilling our plans of a new hotel and water park, which have been delayed for years without the natural gas necessary to fuel the expansion,” said Barb Green, President of Blue Mountain Resort in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. “The announcement today to complete the project in phases is a major boost for our local tourism, economic development and job creation.”
DEP Permits
DEP has not issued any of the environmental permits needed to construct the pipeline.  DEP received updated application materials from PennEAST in response to deficiency letters in October of 2019.
Visit DEP's PennEast Pipeline webpage for more information.
Delaware RiverKeeper Maya van Rossum issued this statement on the PennEast proposal--
“The announcement by PennEast that it will seek to construct its project in Pennsylvania first while it continues to pressure for approvals in New Jersey is not a surprise. 
“This has been a common strategy of pipeline companies; they seek approval from FERC to build in the places where they can claim they have permitting and try to use that ongoing construction to pressure other agencies where approvals are outstanding.  
“The result has been properties taken and environments destroyed for pipelines that are unable to be fully constructed.  It is not a shock that this is PennEast’s strategy.  
“What will also not be a shock, but is legally and morally wrong, is that FERC will help PennEast pursue this strategy.  
“This announced step by PennEast makes it more important than ever that the Delaware River Basin Commission step up and be the necessary check on FERC power run amuck.  
“PennEast cannot begin construction within the watershed absent DRBC [Delaware River Basin Commission] approval-- at least not legally; although I will not be surprised if PennEast and FERC seek to avoid this legal obligation.  So all eyes need to turn to DRBC.  
“And New Jersey needs to continue to maintain its strength and vigilance in denying the PennEast pipeline in order to protect the water resources and residents of our state and region, and needs to use its seat at the DRBC to make sure that the agency lives up to its obligations not to advance the dirty fossil fuel fracked gas PennEast pipeline that would inflict irreparable harm on the water resources, residents and environments of our region.  
“This announcement also stands as further evidence for next week’s hearing before Congress’s Committee on Energy and Commerce as to why Natural Gas Act reform needs to be a priority.”
[Posted: January 31, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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