“Today’s court ruling reaffirms that states have the authority to reject water quality permits for pipelines that don’t meet standards, even if they have federal approval. If FERC approves PennEast, New Jersey clearly has the power to stop it under the Clean Water Act.”
The so-called Southern Reliability Link (SRL), approved by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and under review by the Pinelands Commission, would cost more than $180 million and run through a 30-mile stretch of the Pinelands National Reserve, one of the nation’s most fragile environments.
Watson Coleman plans to re-introduce legislation that would require more stringent federal review of proposed pipelines, including economic analysis of the cumulative impacts of pipelines in a region and whether they are needed to meet public energy demands. Similar legislation was introduced last summer in the prior session of Congress.
The Safer Pipelines Act aims to make FERC more responsive and accountable to the public.
The proposed amendments to the Natural Gas Act, heard today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, “would create unnecessary chaos and upset the careful balance of cooperative federalism,” testified Jennifer Danis, senior staff attorney, Eastern Environmental Law Center. “The proposed changes would undermine states’ rights by inappropriately expanding FERC’s Natural Gas Act authority. The proposal would interfere with federal and state agencies’ ability to protect natural resources for the public.”
“We are extremely disappointed in the failure by NJDEP and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to protect wildlife resources from this unneeded fossil fuel project,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation.
“These agencies, entrusted with protecting our public natural resources, ignored clear and credible documented evidence that this site supports nesting raptors and migratory songbirds,” continued Gilbert. “Transco’s eleventh-hour survey was rushed and biased, and NJDEP ignored Bordentown’s ‘stay’ request to halt construction, which allowed Transco to proceed despite the documented presence of these species.”