PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC has cancelled development of its proposed 120-mile, 1.1-bcfd natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. PennEast cited outstanding permits—including a water quality certification from the State of New Jersey—as having motivated the cancellation.
The project was halted despite the company having earlier this year won a US Supreme Court verdict allowing it to use eminent domain to seize state-controlled land in New Jersey for purposes of building the pipeline (OGJ Online, June 29, 2021).
Environmental groups lauded the cancellation as a victory, noting that 74% of the pipeline’s contracted takeaway capacity consisted of agreements between its developers and affiliate companies. But Interstate Natural Gas Association of America president and chief executive officer Amy Andryszak said in response to the cancellation that "Natural gas is foundational to meeting President Biden’s climate change goals, but that requires the ability to transport that fuel from where it is produced to where it is needed. Natural gas has proven itself a versatile, baseload energy source that enables power sector emissions reductions and complements the deployment of renewables while ensuring energy remains reliable. The legal and regulatory roadblocks that led to the cancellation of the PennEast Pipeline – which would have been built with union labor – are putting energy affordability and reliability at risk in America."
PennEast was approved by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2018 and the company expected it to enter service the following year, but protests against it began almost immediately (OGJ Online, Jan. 22, 2018). Democrat Commissioner Richard Glick dissented from the approval, citing both a lack of need for the pipeline and FERC’s refusal “to consider the consequences its actions have” on climate change according to Natural Gas Act and Natural Environmental Policy Act requirements.