Stockton, NJ (April 6, 2017) – ReThink Energy NJ today issued the following statement in response to PennEast filing an application for a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit and Water Quality Certification with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).
“Today’s permit filing is more of the same from the troubled PennEast project, as it tries to force this pipeline application through without regard for the appropriate and required steps, which are in place to protect the safety of our communities and natural resources from irreversible harm,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation.
PennEast has been told repeatedly by NJDEP not to apply for permits until they have completed their surveys and submitted extensive and complete data.
“Instead, PennEast has ignored this direction from the state agency. NJDEP should set aside this premature and incomplete application and steadfastly uphold its laws and requirements,” added Gilbert.
In a letter from NJDEP to PennEast dated December 20, 2016, the agency cited:
“PennEast has completed less than 35% of the required, full environmental assessment for the entire proposed pipeline route due to lack of complete route access. Completed surveys and analysis for all regulated impacts is required for DEP to accept many of the permit applications as complete, and prior to DEP initiating a review of those permit applications.”
In addition, PennEast has still not received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC cannot make a decision without a quorum, which it currently lacks. Although the final EIS could be issued on April 7, FERC must have a quorum to make a final decision under the Natural Gas Act for the proposed 118-mile gas pipeline.
The Delaware River Basin Commission must also review the project and has yet to begin their formal review.
According to Gilbert, PennEast is attempting to push NJDEP into reviewing the project before they have federal or other key approvals in place, and despite a profound lack of data regarding the significant impacts that this pipeline would have on our waterways, wildlife and communities.