PSEG pulls out of PennEast Pipeline Partnership

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PSEG has pulled out of their partnership with five other companies to build the PennEast Pipeline. The 110-mile PennEast Pipeline would bring natural gas from the Marcellus Region of Pennsylvania through Hunterdon and Mercer Counties in New Jersey. The pipeline will be cutting through communities, preserved open space, and farmland. Not only will the pipelines promote fracking; cause water and air pollution, and contribute to climate change, but emissions from the compressor station will further contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and public health.

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“PSEG pulling out of PennEast is another setback for the pipeline project. Having a partner withdraw shows that this project is unneeded and hurts the environment. All the public opposition has been slowing the project down and creating more roadblocks and hurdles. This shows that our strategy is working. The more we oppose and fight this project, the more delays and setbacks PennEast will face,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We’re concerned that part of PSEG pulling out of PennEast is part of the push to have this alternative route mostly in Pennsylvania. PSEG has pulled out because they say they want to concentrate on their controversial plans for nuclear plant subsidies. We’re concerned that this may be part of a deal to get support for those subsidies.”

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This pipeline will cut an ugly scar through environmentally sensitive lands, cross the Delaware River, 88 waterways, 44 wetlands, numerous tributaries, forests, and impact wildlife. Even worse, this pipeline will promote fracking; cause water and air pollution, and contribute to climate change. PennEast Pipeline is also a safety hazard to the homes and communities it passes

“This is one more victory is our battle to stop this damaging project. The news of PSEG exiting the project means that our opposition will continue to get stronger and the pipeline could be delayed even longer. These major changes to the pipeline project, and especially losing PSEG as a partner, shows how bad of a project it really is. The pipeline would cut a scar through the Delaware Valley and should not be allowed to go forward. PennEast will cross the Delaware River, which supplies the drinking water for 15 million people as well as crosses many high-quality streams and wetlands. No longer are is PennEast just having meetings, environmental impact statements and studies, they are getting permits. That is why the fight to stop PennEast is more real than ever,” said Jeff Tittel. “PSEG tries to have an image of a green company and building PennEast hurts that image. Now all those environmental groups that PSEG gives money to won’t be embarrassed over the pipeline. Maybe now those groups will actually fight the project.”

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Since it was first proposed, there has been multiple delays setting back this pipeline by at least a year. This is because they are unable to get the data they need to submit a complete application. These setbacks are a direct result of the large opposition to the project by municipalities and landowners along the route has made it difficult for PennEast to get the information they need to apply for permits, thereby delaying the project.

“PennEast has faced many setbacks recently. The Environmental Protection Agency cited concerns with the impacts of the pipeline to the environment not being fully analyzed. New Jersey Resources Corporation (NJR) shareholders have urged its executives to divest from the PennEast Pipeline at their annual meeting. The NJ Rate Counsel has said the project is unnecessary and would be unfair to ratepayers because of the high costs and the fact that we don’t need the gas. PennEast has not been able to get crucial permits because they don’t have enough information to apply, thanks to the public’s backlash and refusal to allow surveying,” said Jeff Tittel. “PSEG’s withdrawal hurts PennEast in multiple ways. First, when a partner leaves, it sends a bad message to the financial pipeline companies. It also means they must sell their stake to someone, which may take time or not happen at all. Third, it means that they will have to redo the LLC and corporate papers. This is another time-consuming task that may slow down the project.”

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The PennEast Pipeline violates the Clean Water Act and cannot meet the criteria for 404 permits. Also, we believe that this pipeline cannot meet the requirement for a 401 water quality permit in New Jersey. The reason is because of the amount of high quality streams, wetlands, and rivers it is crossing through. Many of these streams carry anti-degradation criteria. The route will cut areas with steep slopes having a bigger impact on streams because of siltation and runoff.

“While we’re glad that PSEG has abandoned PennEast, we are still concerned because the pipeline still has five other partners. We will continue working to stop those left from pushing through this dangerous project. Our resolve to stop PennEast has not dampened and we urge the other partners to pull out of the project as well,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We consider this news an important victory in the battle to stop PennEast. Over 70% of people along the route have refused them survey access and our opposition is working to slow down the project. We need to continue stand together and continue to fight against this unnecessary and polluting project! We want PennEast to get the FERC out of our Valley!”

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