Can PennEast be stopped?

Opponents of the PennEast pipeline appealed this week to Gov. Chris Christie and his administration to block construction of the pipeline, a proposed 115-mile conduit for natural gas to run through Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

penn-east-450.jpgMuch of the pipeline is slated to run through the scenic Poconos and Skylands, and critics charge that among other things it is projected to cross 200 waterways in New Jersey.

Friday is the deadline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a final environmental impact statement on the project. Those opposed to the project, who include the Sierra Club and Environment New Jersey charge that PennEast has not provided government regulatory agencies with vital information, and they are urging FERC to withhold the impact statement. Without the statement, work cannot begin.

On Thursday, however, PennEast applied for a water permit from the DEP anyway.

PennEast claims the pipeline would be environmentally sound and so far the Christie administration has looked favorably upon natural gas suppliers, citing financial savings to energy consumers.

The Sierra Club and others, however, maintain that the company has not committed to providing its gas to local consumers, that there is no demonstrated need for more natural gas in the area, and that “the route would destroy open space, farmland, and historic sites; that the fracking gold rush is leaving NJ crisscrossed by unnecessary pipelines; and that the emphasis on extraction of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is steering us away from sources of clean, renewable energy.”

So far in New Jersey, Hunterton County and all of its municipalities, Mercer County and several towns have formally opposed the project. So far, Sussex County has remained silent.