By Stephen Cunningham
“The commission’s order rejecting the court’s interpretation strengthens PennEast’s forthcoming petition to the Supreme Court,” Patricia Kornick, a spokeswoman for the project, said by email.
But the project’s viability “remains on life support,” Guggenheim Securities analyst Shahriar Pourreza said Thursday in a note to clients.
“Headwinds remain material to get a project through a state that appears to be anti natural gas due to Governor Murphy’s policies,” Pourreza said, referring to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
BI: PennEast Pipeline Probably Requires a Reroute to Move Forward
FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said at the agency’s meeting that the earlier court ruling has the “potential to disrupt the commission’s regulation of the natural gas industry” and that Thursday’s order would provide clarity for other potential litigants. The “text, legislative history and precedent” of the Natural Gas Act of 1938 reflect Congress’s intent to delegate the authority to condemn state property to pipeline certificate holders, he argued.
But Democrat Commissioner Rich Glick, the sole dissenter, criticized the regulator’s decision as “both deeply troubling and frankly, a discredit to this agency.”
The ruling also drew an angry rebuke from New Jersey Democratic Representative Frank Pallone, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “For an independent regulatory agency to help a private party seize state lands, all in order to build a pipeline, is as wrong as it is bizarre,” he said in a statement.
The 120-mile line (193-kilometer) PennEast line would carry about 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day, enough for 4.7 million homes, from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.