Today the developers of the controversial PennEast pipeline project announced they were cancelling 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. 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. Today PennEast cited their inability to comply with the Clean Water Act as their reason for halting 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 project’s backers were planning to use eminent domain to take land from the state of New Jersey for the pipeline, a controversial practice that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. 

The decision 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 gas use is immediately curtailed and replaced with clean energy.  

Patrick Grenter, Associate Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, issued the following statement: “This is a big win for communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that value clean air, clean water, and a stable climate. PennEast would have threatened countless sensitive creeks and wetlands, while making us more dependent on fossil fuels at a time when we need to be urgently transitioning to clean energy. Congratulations to community advocates from across the region that fought this destructive project and won.”

Submitted by the Sierra Club

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