HomeHopewell Valley NewsHopewell NewsCENTRAL JERSEY: PennEast pipeline temporarily stymied by the state

CENTRAL JERSEY: PennEast pipeline temporarily stymied by the state

It’s back to the drawing board for the PennEast Pipeline Co. application – sort of.

Although the controversial natural gas pipeline project received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last month, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is not ready to sign off.

The proposed natural gas pipeline begins in Luzerne County, Pa., and cuts through Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey. It ends in Hopewell Township.

In a Feb. 1 letter to PennEast, the NJDEP wrote that because of gaps in the company’s application for a freshwater wetlands individual permit – and despite having been notified of the need to complete the application in April 2017 – the state agency is denying the application.

Last summer, the NJDEP denied a request by PennEast for an extension of its application for the freshwater wetlands individual permit and water quality certificate. PennEast had been given a 60-day extension and requested an additional 60-day extension of its application, but the NJDEP turned it down in June 2017.

“To date, PennEast has not submitted any further documentation or a complete application. Accordingly, the NJDEP hereby denies without prejudice the application,” Assistant Commissioner Virginia Kop’Kash wrote in the Feb. 1 letter to PennEast.

“As a result, no application for a freshwater wetlands individual permit is currently pending in any form before the Department. PennEast may submit a new complete application when it has all of the required information as identified in the NJDEP’s letter date April 26, 2017,” Kop’Kash wrote.

Once PennEast submits the missing information, the NJDEP “will review the merits of the application if it is administratively complete,” she wrote.

At the time when the application was “administratively closed” in June 2017, PennEast was lacking information on 65 percent of the route through New Jersey because property owners had denied access for the surveys.

The NJDEP requires surveys of private land that the company intends to use along its route. Without that information, the project cannot move forward.

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