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NJ state senator throws support behind $1B PennEast project

New Jersey state Sen. Anthony Bucco asked FERC to approve the PennEast natural gas pipeline project, rallying behind the project as another lawmaker and groups oppose it.

"I firmly believe that bringing down the cost of energy — in particular electricitywill help bring good middle class jobs back to New Jersey," Bucco, R-N.J., said in a letter filed with the commission Jan. 13.

Bucco noted that all four gas utility companies in the state have subscribed to the project's gas transportation capacity and the project has received support from businesses and labor organizations in New Jersey. An estimated 90% of the project's capacity has been contracted. PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC is a joint venture of Southern Co. Gas, New Jersey Resources Corp.'s NJR Pipeline Co., Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.'s PSEG Power LLC, South Jersey Industries Inc.'s SJI Midstream, Spectra Energy Partners LP and UGI Corp.'s UGI Energy Services.

"One economic study found this one pipeline would have saved New Jersey families and businesses $378 million during the 2013-2014 winter season," Bucco said. "Those are benefits we just can't ignore."

The project would include a compressor station and about 120 miles of new pipeline and would deliver approximately 1.1 MMDth/d. FERC staff expected to publish its final environmental impact statement for the project on Feb. 17, after the deadline for the review was postponed for two months.

Bucco's letter was in contrast to the call for an evidentiary hearing from former U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. Fitzpatrick's December 2016 letter asked the commission to reconsider whether there is a need for the project.

"This is a project that clearly meets the public need for decades to come, and will provide important benefits to the state's 8 million residents," Bucco said. (FERC docket CP15-558)