Western New Jersey

Bipartisan federal, state and local officials call on NJDEP to reject PennEast

TRENTON, N.J. - Wednesday U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, along with other bipartisan state and local elected officials, homeowners and conservation leaders said there are flaws in the Deferal Energy Regulatory Commissions review of pipelines, including the PennEast Pipeline, according to a press release from ReThink Energy NJ. 

The release stated they also called on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to reject PennEast’s application for state permits, according to ReThink Energy NJ.

Watson Coleman wants to re-introduce legislation that would require a stricter 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, she said in a statement.

Similar legislation was introduced last summer in the prior session of Congress, according to Rethink's release. The Safer Pipelines Act aims to make FERC more responsive and accountable to the public, the release stated. 

"The process that FERC uses to approve pipelines is inherently flawed and does not adequately examine need or true impact of proposed pipelines," Watson Coleman said in a statement. "The PennEast proposal - a pipeline that would run right through my district - is just another example of this negligence."

According to the release, U.S. Democratic Senators Booker and Menendez as well as Republican Congressman Lance have also called on NJDEP to reject the PennEast Pipeline. 

Last month, federal regulators said environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline would be "effectively limited."

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in April issued its final environmental impact study for the PennEast Pipeline. The report outlines several areas of concern, including trace amounts of arsenic in some rocks the pipeline would cross and potential threats to endangered species.

But, according to the report, PennEast is proposing mitigation efforts like well monitoring and avoiding endangered animal habitats.

PennEast spokeswoman Pat Kornick praised the report and said it's the final federal regulatory hurdle.

The pipeline, if approved, would originate in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and terminate at Transco's pipeline interconnection in Mercer County, New Jersey.

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