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Enough is Enough—Tell FERC to Reject PennEast’s Baseless Request for Extension

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On January 19, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to PennEast Pipeline Company for its 115-mile fracked gas pipeline, proposed to cut through the Delaware River watershed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  FERC’s Certificate Order required PennEast to complete construction of the proposed project and make it available for service within two years from the date of the Certificate. Now, just weeks before that date approaches, PennEast has requested an extension. It’s time to speak up and tell FERC to put down the rubber stamp and reject this baseless request for an extension from PennEast!

The PennEast Pipeline has already proven to be a failure in the eyes of the public, a growing number of agencies (that are saying “no” or asking, yet again, for more information) and the courts. The pipeline company’s materials are deficient or outright false, the harm it would inflict is irreparable, and ultimately, the pipeline is just not needed and cannot be justified. It’s time for FERC to stand by its own certificate conditions and shut down the proposed PennEast Pipeline.

PennEast has known for over three months that New Jersey denied the project’s needed Clean Water Act approvals and that they would not be able to gain access to 42 of the 131 properties along its proposed route in NJ, with any potential for progress towards construction on the proposed route stymied by both of those significant legal obstacles. If PennEast had any intention of respecting the conditions FERC outlined in its certificate, they would have requested an extension then, rather than wait until the last minute in an attempt to force FERC’s hand. FERC should reject PennEast’s eleventh hour request for an extension of its in-service date on this basis alone.

PennEast falsely claims in its request for extension that the “Project continues to be required by the public convenience and necessity for the reasons set forth in the Certificate Order”. In reality, the project is not needed nor relevant. Even if FERC believed that the gas PennEast would transport would have been beneficial when first proposed in 2014, the dramatic increase in takeaway capacity from the Marcellus region and to and through New Jersey since then eliminated any rationale for the project. New Jersey Rate Counsel and independent energy experts have amassed substantial evidence demonstrating that there is currently a glut of pipeline capacity serving New Jersey customers. Instead of providing a beneficial service and lowering costs for ratepayers, the proposed pipeline would simply provide an attractive return for its owners at ratepayer expense. PennEast’s Certificate’s expiration provides an opportunity for FERC to require PennEast to demonstrate that a need for more natural gas capacity actually exists in New Jersey and that PennEast would meet that need while lowering costs to ratepayers.

FERC cannot just extend the deadline on PennEast’s certificate while the project design and proposed route continues to change. FERC has already allowed PennEast to segment the review of its significant route changes to the project in Pennsylvania, and it is almost certain now that PennEast will need to find a new route through NJ that will be completely different from what FERC has already approved.

If FERC approves this extension, they will be essentially writing PennEast a blank check—allowing them to fill in the route, the species, the waterways, the properties that they will irreparably harm under FERC’s rubber stamp. Write to FERC today and tell them they need to deny PennEast’s baseless request for extension and require that they submit a new application with a legally viable route and documented environmental and economic data on the new project.


We expect FERC will respond to PennEast’s request quickly—so file your comments ASAP!

How to submit: There are three methods you can use to submit your comments to FERC. How ever you file, be sure to reference the PennEast Pipeline Project docket number (CP19-78-000); CP15-558-000) with your submission:

  1. You can file brief, text-only comments electronically using the eComment feature on www.ferc.gov, under the link to Documents and Filings.
  2. You can file longer comments or attach comments in other formats electronically by using the eFiling feature on www.ferc.gov, under the link to Documents and Filings. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” Select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type.
  3. You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address:

Ms. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20426

For assistance with electronic filing, call (866) 208-3676 or email FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov

Learn more about the PennEast pipeline project here.