The appeals court rejected PennEast’s argument that the Natural Gas Act delegates to pipeline-builders the federal government’s exemption to a state’s sovereign immunity. It’s unclear whether the federal government can delegate its power to override a state’s 11th Amendment immunity, the appeals court said, but it need not answer that question because “nothing in the text of the NGA suggests that Congress intended the statute to have such a result. PennEast’s condemnation suits are thus barred by the state’s Eleventh Amendment immunity,” the appeals court said.
FILED JANUARY 9TH, 2019
In the Supreme Court of the United States
DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER NETWORK; DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER, MAYA VAN ROSSUM, AND LANCASTER AGAINST PIPELINES,
SECRETARY PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION; PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION; AND TRANSCONTINENTAL GAS PIPE LINE COMPANY, LLC
- WEEK OF JANUARY 7TH, 2019
- AN UPDATE FROM OUR FRIENDS AT HALT
- PennEast is beginning survey activities in NJ on properties within the proposed pipeline ROW corridor as authorized by the District Court’s December 14, 2018 decision to grant the power of eminent domain to PennEast.
- PennEast submitted a proposed form of Order to establish the parameters for survey access. As a part of the legal process, a formal objection to PennEast’s proposal for survey access has been submitted to the Court by the Attorney General for the State of NJ as well as on behalf of several individual homeowners. The intent is to work with the Court and PennEast representatives to determine appropriate protocol for PennEast’s activities on homeowner property.
- Also, the state’s motions for a stay and reconsideration are still pending.
- In the interim, PennEast is authorized to begin initial survey activities.
- There are different kinds of surveys required such as: civil surveys, architectural surveys, environmental surveys, archeological/cultural surveys and geo-technical surveys. It is our understanding that PennEast’s current plan is to begin by conducting architectural surveys (e.g. historical features) and possibly civil surveys (e.g. boundary drawings, topographical characteristics), which are “non-invasive pedestrian access,” although in some cases vehicular access may be required.
- We are unaware of any plans this week for geotechnical surveys which require borings.
- It is our understanding, that PennEast’s attorney has said there will be no tree-clearing at this juncture.
- All agents and surveyors must have identification clearly identifying them as working for or on behalf of PennEast.
- Homeowners should pay close attention to what activities are occurring on their properties, but should not interfere.
- If homeowners have concerns about PennEast surveyors or agents causing any damage to their property or violating any law they should call their attorney and/or call NJ DEP’s Office of Enforcement at 609-777-0122 for immediate guidance.
Do not depend on the timeliness and thoroughness of the above pass-through information. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Individual homeowners should stay in close contact with their own attorneys. Notwithstanding, HALT will do its best to share this type of information as received.
REMEMBER – the award of the power of eminent domain and the ability of PennEast to conduct surveys are in no way a final indication that this proposed pipeline will be approved and constructed. There are many steps remaining. HALT members will continue to be diligent in their commitment and action to protect their land, their communities and the environment from this unneeded, unwanted and harmful proposal.