State, Land Trusts Urge Courts to Deny PennEast Pipeline Eminent Domain Overreach, Says NJ Conservation

State of New Jersey, Conservation Groups Oppose Pipeline’s Attempted “Carte Blanche” Land Seizure

TRENTON, N.J., March 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The State of New Jersey reaffirmed its commitment to saving open space in a legal filing.  A filing asking the U.S. District Court in Trenton to reject PennEast’s demand.  All to condemn more than 20 parcels of state-owned open space and farmland.  Moreover that were preserved with taxpayer dollars.

In addition, PennEast has asked the court to give it title and immediate access to property.  All because the company contends is needed to build its proposed gas pipeline. But, there is a catch folks.  That’s because PennEast does not have authorization to build its project.  All says New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJ Conservation).

State, Land Trusts Urge Courts to Deny PennEast Pipeline Eminent Domain Overreach, Says NJ Conservation

NJ Conservation and Hunterdon Land Trust (HLT) also asked the court to reject PennEast’s demand.  One to seize preserved land they own. These legal papers also were filed by Stark & Stark.  Moreover in cooperation with Eastern Environmental Law Center (EELC) and Columbia Environmental Law Clinic (Columbia).

The pipeline is not yet approved and New Jersey has not determined whether the pipeline is in the public interest.

Despite that, PennEast continues its aggressive tactics against New Jersey landowners. The pipeline company asked the courts not only for the rights to access the properties.  I mean along its route to survey the land.  However and also for the immediate right to condemn lands.  All for the pipeline corridor.

The state argued that PennEast’s request for the rights to build on the “preciously scarce” preserved lands.  Those that the state owns and manages.  Although it was overly broad.  All that the federal court lacks jurisdiction over the state.  Moreover that harm to the state’s 60-year open space program.  For it would be so “irreparable” if PennEast’s request is granted.

In addition, PennEast is seeking to seize 149 of the 211 properties.  All in the path of the proposed pipeline in New Jersey.

For that’s nearly 70% out of 149 properties.  All that would be condemned.  In addition, I also heard about 50 are preserved lands.  More than 20 of which the state owns; in whole or in part. The first 60 of the 149 eminent domain cases.  All are being heard by the courts on April 5.

In conclusion, the court is considering the state’s and groups’ requests.  For it is the same court considering another legal challenge. One that is brought by EELC and Columbia.  Most noteworthy and on behalf of NJ Conservation.  Finally, one that claims that FERC’s broader practice of granting eminent domain to private pipeline companies is unconstitutional.

PennEast’s pipeline, if approved, would damage 4,300 acres.

All of permanently preserved open space and farmland.

Finally, to download NJ Conservation and HLT’s legal filings.  So click here and here.

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Trenton court should reject unneeded #PennEast pipeline's eminent domain overreach attempt. http://ow.ly/xdg130j6BtJ #StopPennEast @ConserveNJ @HunterdonLandTr

Sources: New Jersey Conservation FoundationHunterdon Land Trust AllianceEastern Environmental Law Center (EELC) and Columbia University Environmental Law Clinic