PennEast Pipeline Company still sees its Pennsylvania project in operations by 2022; at least the first phase of the $1,2 billion project. Second phase would be in service by 2024; the company said this Thursday.
Firstly, the pipeline by PennEast was involved in a case before, even with the Donald Trump administration.
In fact, back in 2019, the Trump administration filed a brief to the Supreme Court, urging it to overturn a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals that blocked PennEast to use eminent domain to seize properties in which New Jersey has an interest.
Secondly, that support from the U.S. Solicitor General could benefit the PennEast project. It pretends to send around 1,1 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the Marcellus Shale to the markets of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Indeed, the project has hurdled obstacles along the way, especially in New Jersey, state that challenged the company’s use of eminent domain and rejected the permits needed for the project. It was the 3rd US Circuit of Appeals that ruled that the company lacked authority to use the lands.
However, the company, backed by others in the midstream sector, took the case to the Supreme Court arguing that the ruling could enable to other states to do the same thing, and overturn interstate midstream projects, freezing investment and infrastructure development.
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PennEast backed by the federal government
Moreover, such is the position of the Biden administration on the matter. Earlier this week, the Biden admin filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals rule. The company answered it in a statement:
“PennEast appreciates the continued support of the United States, which also underscores this case presents an issue that cuts across party lines,” it said.
Moreover, on March 8, according to S&P Global, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed a brief to the Court, arguing that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to determine whether the Natural Gas Act lets the company to condemn state property.
In addition, the file said that the state “should have raised its contention about the lack of authority before FERC and in the pending appeals court review of the commission’s decisions.”
Finally, it added. “the text, structure, history and also, the purpose of the NGA show it authorizes pipeline certificate holders to condemn all property needed to build a FERC-approved pipeline; whether or not a state claims any interest in such property.”