After years of planning, government review, lawsuits and community outcry, the PennEast Pipeline Co. announced this week it will no longer pursue its plans to build a natural gas transport pipeline from the shale fields in Pennsylvania 116 miles across the Delaware River, to a port in New Jersey.
“The PennEast partners, following extensive evaluation and discussion, recently determined further development of the project no longer is supported,” PennEast wrote in statement, adding that it “has ceased all further development of the project.”
The move comes after a years-long legal back-and-forth, which recently resulted in a Supreme Court decision that ruled the company could claim land via eminent domain to build the pipeline. However in August, and then last week, the company said it would not pursue land claims in Pennsylvania and then New Jersey, respectively.
Ultimately, the decision to end work on the pipeline came down to the company’s inability (as of yet) to secure necessary permits to build the pipeline, it wrote in the statement.
The development is nothing short of a massive victory for environmental groups who opposed the project, and the many community members who showed up to rallies, wrote legislators and posted yard signs over the last five years in opposition of the project. The pipeline would have traversed through the ecologically sensitive Delaware River Basin, and through farmland on both sides of the water.
“We knew we would get here eventually, it was just a matter of time,” says Maya van Rossum, head of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a longtime opponent of the PennEast Pipeline. “Today is a day to celebrate. Tomorrow we battle on to end the fracking that spawned this evil pipeline project as well as the other LNG, pipeline, and compressor projects that are part and parcel of the devastating and dangerous fracking industry advancing the climate crisis and putting the health and safety of our planet and future generations at such consequential risk.”
Added NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, in a statement: “For the last four years, my Administration has fought back against the unnecessary construction of the PennEast Pipeline, which was wrong for New Jersey and would have destroyed acres of New Jersey’s conserved land and threatened species. Since taking office, we have focused on changing the ways we produce and consume energy, and have made generational investments in creating our offshore wind industry, building our solar programs, and encouraging electric vehicle investments. I welcome today’s decision by PennEast to cease development on this project and am committed to protecting our state’s natural resources and building a clean energy future that works for all New Jerseyans. I will never back down from a fight to protect New Jersey’s best interests.”