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Environmental group: FERC is stalling on requests to reconsider PennEast project

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Environmental group: FERC is stalling on requests to reconsider PennEast project

The environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network asked a federal appeals court to force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to make a decision on a rehearing request for the PennEast pipeline project, and also asked the court to review the project's approval.

The group told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that FERC has issued tolling orders that delay a final decision on a request to reconsider PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC's 1.1-Bcf/d natural gas transportation project, which has put them in legal limbo. The group disagrees with FERC's decision to approve the line, which would link Marcellus production to East Coast markets.

"FERC's continued use, and abuse, of tolling orders to obstruct or otherwise delay aggrieved parties from obtaining their day in court is not only unfair but reflects a blatant violation of the public's due process rights," Aaron Stemplewicz, senior attorney for the Delaware Riverkeep Network, said on May 9. The group made a similar claim in March when it asked the commission to withdraw its tolling order.

The group filed requests for a rehearing of the PennEast pipeline with FERC in January. The commission issued a tolling order in February to allow it more time to consider the request, followed by a second tolling order in April. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network said it cannot challenge the project's approval without a final order on the merits of the rehearing request.

FERC authorized the project in a Jan. 19 certificate order after the 120-mile pipeline received a positive final environmental review. The project is a joint venture of affiliates of Enbridge Inc., Southern Co. Inc., New Jersey Resources Corp., South Jersey Industries Inc. and UGI Corp. (FERC docket CP15-558)