On Monday the developers of the controversial PennEast pipeline project announced they were canceling the project after being denied necessary water quality permits. PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC’s 116-mile pipeline would have shipped fracked Marcellus Shale gas from Northeast Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River to New Jersey, where it would likely be sold to be burned in foreign countries.
“This is a big win for communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that value clean air, clean water, and a stable climate,” said Patrick Grenter, Associate Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign. “We've been saying this for years: This 116-mile project was unnecessary, wildly unpopular, and reckless. Our people led the fight against this project in multiple states, rallying, marching, writing, calling, and posting in opposition to this disastrous pipeline.”
Photo courtesy of Patrick Grenter.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection declined to issue Clean Water Act permits for the project in 2019, citing its potential impacts to water quality, which led to PennEast’s decision to halt the project. All told, the pipeline would have threatened more than 88 waterways, 44 wetlands, 30 parks, and 33 conservation easements with leaks, explosions, and pollution.
The decision also comes as climate scientists raise alarm about the rapid expansion of gas infrastructure worldwide, which leaks massive amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The United Nations and International Energy Agency recently found that the world will not be able to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis unless use of gas is immediately curtailed and clean energy takes its place.
“PennEast would have made us more dependent on fossil fuels at a time when we urgently need to be transitioning to clean energy,” said Grenter. “Congratulations to the community advocates from across the region who fought this destructive project and won.”