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Pennsylvania DEP Awards Critical Water Permit to PennEast

PennEast argues that Pennsylvania’s approval shows pipeline can be built with minimal environmental impact, a hot button with New Jersey activists

PennEast pipeline
Credit: Susan Phillips/StateImpact Pennsylvania

When it comes to the proposed PennEast Pipeline, there’s more separating New Jersey and Pennsylvania than the Delaware River the pipe will run under.

New Jersey activists have waged a running battle with the state Department of Environmental Protection, ultimately forcing it to delay issuing permits to the pipeline company.

Meanwhile, PennEast announced yesterday that it had been granted a 401 Water Quality Certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, a prerequisite for federal approval.

According to the company, the certification indicates that the PADEP believes it can build and maintain the pipeline without serious environmental impact.

“The Department’s year-long review and conclusion provides additional assurance that PennEast can protect the environment — specifically water resources,” said PennEast spokeswoman Pat Kornick.

The situation is different in New Jersey, where the state DEP has yet to begin reviewing the application because it is incomplete. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has also delayed issuing its final Environmental Impact Statement after critical comments were submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency and NJ DEP.

"We are disappointed that PADEP rushed to approve permits for PennEast, despite the significant impacts the pipeline would have on our water, land and wildlife,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ. “This does not change the fact that PennEast does not have approval by FERC, and hasn't even begun the process to secure permits from DRBC or the NJDEP. PennEast faces tremendous opposition and a long uphill battle in New Jersey.”

Read the full story on StateImpact Pennsylvania, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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