31 officials urge DEP to reject PennEast’s pipeline permit application

TRENTON — Officials from more than a dozen towns are urging the state’s environmental agency to reject a permit application for PennEast’s proposed $1 billion natural gas pipeline.

The 31 mayors, council members and county freeholders made their plea in a letter Monday to Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.

“We are opposed to the PennEast Pipeline because it would have significant impacts on natural and historic resources, public health and safety and ratepayers throughout the state,” they wrote. “These impacts are unacceptable, especially given that PennEast has failed to demonstrate legitimate public need for the project.”

The letter comes as a June 26 deadline looms for PennEast to re-submit portions of its freshwater wetlands permit application that DEP had deemed incomplete.

Among the deficiencies was PennEast’s lack of consent from property owners along the path of the 120-mile pipeline as well as technical information like a survey of wetlands areas and historical and archaeological resources.

DEP told PennEast it had 30 days to address the problems and re-submit the application. If, within 60 days, PennEast has still not provided the required information, DEP can decide to “administratively close” the application.

DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said that as of Monday afternoon, the agency has not received any information to “satisfy the deficiencies.”

But PennEast spokeswoman Pat Kornick says the company would continue to provide supplemental information while working within federal rules for interstate pipeline projects.

The letter from the elected officials says the pipeline would damage thousands of acres of open space and farmland, threaten waterways, put residents in harm’s way and require the use of eminent-domain.

“This pipeline is unneeded, unwanted, unsafe and unfair to customers throughout New Jersey,” the letter reads. “Numerous agencies have found the project’s applications, engineering and environmental…

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