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Court Punts Arguments on PennEast Pipeline Amid Lands Dispute

Oct. 2, 2019, 3:41 PM

Federal judges have canceled a planned court date in a legal dispute over a natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in light of developments in another case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was set to hear oral argument Oct. 3 in Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a set of cases involving federal approvals for the PennEast pipeline.

But related litigation in New Jersey has left the pipeline’s fate in question. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Sept. 10 blocked PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC from taking New Jersey state land along the project’s route.

The D.C. Circuit is putting its FERC case on hold until the land acquisition case is resolved. PennEast is considering whether to ask the Third Circuit to revisit its decision in the lands case, and could eventually seek Supreme Court review.

PennEast is a 116-mile gas transport project set to cross eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey. The FERC case centers on whether the agency adequately considered the environmental and economic impacts of the pipeline before approving it.

D.C. Circuit judges directed FERC and its challengers to update the court on how the case should proceed on Dec. 30, or after the Third Circuit case is resolved.

The D.C. Circuit case is Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC, D.C. Cir., No. 18-1128, order 10/1/19. The Third Circuit case is In re PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC, 3d Cir., No. 19-1191.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at egilmer@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Renee Schoof at rschoof@bloombergenvironment.com

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