Lehigh Valley

Northampton County to be defendant in PennEast pipeline trial

PennEast Pipeline Company wants to install a 36-inch pipeline to move natural gas from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania all the way to Mercer County, New Jersey. 

Many groups have opposed the plan and even called for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rethink its decision to allow the pipeline. 

Northampton County has said it will be the defendant in an upcoming trial with PennEast. The issues lie with the parcels of land in Lower Nazareth and Williams Township, which are preserved under an "Open Space" program. The program states the county assumes responsibility to protect that land from being condemned. 

The county says PennEast is trying to use eminent domain for a private enterprise and not one that benefits the public. In addition, it says PennEast is offering "fair market value for the easements and that attempting to acquire the title to the property rights prior to payment for compensation violates the separation of powers doctrine."

The office of the solicitor is requesting a jury trial, according to a news release from Northampton County.

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