The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) filed a brief today with the United States Supreme Court urging the Court to take up and reverse a lower courts decision allowing a state to unilaterally veto interstate pipeline projects that have been approved by the Federal Government.
In the case of PennEast Pipeline Company vs. the State of New Jersey, late last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia ruled that the pipeline could not exercise eminent domain to secure rights of way through lands in which the State of New Jersey held a property interest, effectively stopping the pipeline from moving to construction. A project of UGI Energy Services, Inc., PennEast is slated to transport natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to customers along its 128-mile route to south-central New Jersey.
After the Third Circuits adverse ruling, PennEast filed a petition in late February asking the Supreme Court to review and overturn the lower courts decision.
In urging the Supreme Court to accept the case, EEIA argued that it presents a question of immediate and exceptional national importance that endangers the boom in natural gas production, and that the [Third Circuits] decision will have severe national economic consequences on the complex commercial web that provides the equipment, labor, and infrastructure necessary to build interstate pipelines.
EEIAs President Toby Mack pointed out that the Third Circuit rulings own words alone should be enough to convince the Supreme Court to grant review, when it acknowledged that its ruling may disrupt how the natural gas industry has used the Natural Gas Act to construct interstate pipelines over State-owned land for the past eighty years. Although the Association is optimistic, its not known when and how the Court will rule on the petition. EEIA will maintain close watch on the appeals progress and keep members informed.