The PennEast Pipeline Co. sent a letter on Dec. 30, 2019 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting an extension of 24 months, until Jan. 19, 2022, for the company to complete the authorized construction of project facilities and make such facilities available for service.
The PennEast Pipeline project has been a point of contention since 2014. Proponents contend the proposed $1 billion project will bring natural gas in a safe manner and provide high-paying construction jobs to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Opponents warn it would damage the environment, displace residents, and pose risks to human health.
Under the proposal, the PennEast Pipeline Co. would construct underground pipes carrying natural gas along a 120-mile route from Luzerne County, Pa. across the Delaware River and through Holland, Alexandria, Kingwood, Delaware, West Amwell and Hopewell townships in New Jersey. The company consists of NJR Pipeline Co.; PSEG Power; SJI Midstream; Southern Company Gas; Spectra Energy Partners; and UGI Energy Services, according to the PennEast website.
“PennEast has run out of time and now are asking FERC for another extension on their pipeline. They said this project was going to be built in 2018 and here we are in 2020 and PennEast still haven’t made any real progress with this pipeline,” Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said in a statement on Jan. 2. “The two-year delay is because of the ongoing opposition to this dangerous and unneeded project. PennEast said they needed the pipeline in 2015 because of the shortage of gas in the region. Here we are five years later and there is still no shortage and PennEast is looking to delay the project even longer.”
Tittel called on FERC to reject PennEast’s request for an extension.
During construction, PennEast estimates it will generate $1.62 billion in economic activity, support about 12,000 jobs with an associated $740 million in wages, according to a 2015 study from Econsult Solutions touted by the company.
PennEast estimates it will generate close to $65 million in state and local tax benefits during the pipeline’s first five years of operation and more than $100 million in federal tax benefits. The company lists reduced natural gas and electric costs and increased reliability among the benefits to area communities.
The Econsult study found for every $10 million in consumer savings offered by the project, consumers would generate $13 million in economic benefits to the region.