PennEast drops plan for Pennsylvania and New Jersey natural gas pipeline

The PennEast pipeline project was opposed by landowners in Mercer, Hunterdon, and Somerset counties.

Environmentalists have won a more than decade-long battle against the PennEast pipeline. The company announced Monday that it has dropped plans for a natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Residents in Mercer, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties and environmental groups have long been outspoken against the project.

The company said in a statement Monday that it is stopping the project because it has not received all of the required permits from the State of New Jersey. PennEast also cited an inability to comply with the Clean Water Act as their reason for halting the project. The announcement that the company is scrapping the project comes a week after the company said it was dropping plans to use eminent domain to seize state-owned land in New Jersey, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the company’s favor three months earlier.

The 116-mile gas line was slated to start in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, run through portions of the Lehigh Valley and Bucks County, and continue into Hunterdon County, ending in Pennington in Mercer County.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection declined to issue Clean Water Act permits for the project in 2019, citing its potential impacts on water quality.

One of the strongest opponents of the project was the New Jersey Sierra Club. Jeff Tittel, the former director of the organization, led the movement to oppose the project. Tittel predicted last week that PennEast would not be able to succeed and would find it extremely difficult to find enough private land for the project.

Patrick Grenter, associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, called the PennEast decision a big win for communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that value clean air, clean water, and a stable climate.

“PennEast would have threatened countless sensitive creeks and wetlands while making us more dependent on fossil fuels at a time when we need to be urgently transitioning to clean energy,” Grenter said. “Congratulations to community advocates from across the region that fought this destructive project and won.”