‘A new connection to Mercer Meadows’

Aerial view of property on Blackwell Road.

County to purchase 50 acres of land, which was slated for PennEast’s pipeline project 

Mercer County is proceeding with a plan to purchase about 50 acres of land in Hopewell Township previously owned by PennEast Pipeline Company.

The land was purchased by PennEast for its canceled pipeline project on Blackwell Road. The acres would provide additional public land, preserve critical habitat, and provide a new connection to Mercer Meadows, according to Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes.

“This is an important acquisition for us in that it abuts the Curlis Lake portion of Mercer Meadows and will provide an additional entry point to our county park and to Curlis Lake itself,” Hughes said.

The cost to acquire the acres is $1.16 million. The funding for the purchase of the property is available through the county’s Open Space Preservation Trust Fund.

Funding is also eligible for a 50% grant through the Green Acres program, according to the county.

The PennEast Pipeline Company canceled its plan for a proposed $1 billion pipeline project in September 2021 after legal and regulatory hurdles.

That year PennEast suspended efforts to condemn state-owned land in New Jersey and condemnation of land in Pennsylvania for the project.

The company stopped further development of the project after not receiving certain environmental permits for the New Jersey portion of the project, which was about one-third of the total project.

In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, had ruled that the PennEast Pipeline project could proceed with condemning New Jersey state-owned land for the company’s $1 billion pipeline project.

The decision by the court had overturned a 2019 Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which denied the condemning of more than 42 parcels of New Jersey state-owned land for the company’s pipeline project.

The construction of the 116-mile-long natural gas pipeline was broken up into two phases and proposed from Pennsylvania into New Jersey.

The project faced significant pushback from the state, local residents and environmental organizations.