Energy - JUNE 29, 2021

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New Jersey loses challenge against state-owned land for $1b pipeline

by Andrea Zander

The $1 billion PennEast pipeline project by PennEast Pipeline Co. may proceed after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s 2018 ruling that project developers couldn't seize New Jersey–owned land for the pipeline.

The justices ruled 5-4, saying New Jersey doesn’t have sovereign immunity because the PennEast project received federal approval. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had allowed the company’s project to move forward in 2018 by granting PennEast a so-called certificate of public convenience and necessity.

New Jersey argued in response that the land at issue holds “recreational, conservation, and/or agricultural uses.” In 2018 PennEast sued to get access to 40 parcels of land owned or partially controlled by New Jersey. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia countered the action, however, referring to the Constitution’s 11th Amendment that limits the situations in which private companies can sue states without

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