Return to sender: NJ kicks back pipeline's incomplete application

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday sent back PennEast Pipeline Co.’s application for water permits, citing a number of deficiencies, including the company’s lack of access to much of the private land along the route of the $1 billion Marcellus Shale gas pipeline.

PennEast is unable to obtain easements from uncooperative landowners along the pipeline’s 120-mile route from Pennsylvania to New Jersey until it obtains approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Environmental groups on Wednesday hailed the state’s action as a victory, but PennEast spokeswoman Patricia Kornick said only a “few outstanding items” needed to be resolved. PennEast said it filed its application with New Jersey on April 6 as a “routine step” to ensure that the project was consistent with the schedule set by FERC for all agencies to complete their environmental reviews.

The 36-inch-diameter pipeline would deliver 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, mostly to New Jersey utilities.