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Court order contradicts ruling on eminent domain


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a special meeting Jan. 30, with the sole purpose of issuing a Declaratory Order in response to a request of the PennEast Pipeline Company, made on Oct. 4, following a Third Circuit Court ruling made in September 2019, declaring that the PennEast Pipeline Company could not condemn state owned lands.

The ruling made clear that, because of its sovereign immunity as a state, New Jersey had the right to deny the exercise of eminent domain by the PennEast Pipeline Company over properties in which the state had a property interest.

In response to the Third Circuit’s ruling, PennEast filed with FERC urging them to issue a declaratory order that re-interprets the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and draws its own conclusions about states’ rights and eminent domain. The PennEast Pipeline Company urged FERC to render a determination on the request on an expedited basis.

The PennEast Pipeline Company has asserted its plans to appeal the Third Circuit decision to the United States Supreme Court. Petitions appealing the decision to the Supreme Court are due in the coming week, according to commissioners, who emphasized the importance of getting their order on the record in advance.

FERC issued the declaratory order at the Jan. 30 special meeting, with Commissioner Richard Glick dissenting.