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March 15, 2021

EEIA, DOJ Oppose State Of New Jersey In PennEast Pipeline Case

On March 8, the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), which MSCI is a member of, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the justices to reverse a lower federal court ruling that essentially would allow one state to unilaterally veto any federally-approved interstate natural gas pipeline project.

In a case titled PennEast Pipeline Company vs. the State of New Jersey, this April the court will hear an appeal of the lower court’s ruling, which had prevented the use of eminent domain to gain rights of way through New Jersey state-owned lands for the PennEast Pipeline.

That ruling effectively stopped pipeline construction, threatening thousands of jobs along the energy supply chain and the transport natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to customers along its 128-mile route to south-central New Jersey. Because the ruling could set a precedent for pipelines nationwide crossing state-owned lands, as most do, in its submission to the court, EEIA argued that the decision could “have severe national economic consequences on the complex commercial web that provides the equipment, labor, and infrastructure necessary to build interstate pipelines.”

EEIA told the court failure to reverse the decision would “stunt investment and destroy thousands more jobs in the dozens of industries that supply equipment, materials and services for the construction of pipelines, the upstream facilities producing natural gas, and the downstream facilities consuming it.” EEIA also argued “permitting a single state unilaterally to halt an interstate pipeline project will destabilize natural gas markets and upend the complex commercial web that provides the equipment, labor, and infrastructure to make those pipelines possible.”

Click here to read EEIA’s brief.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule in this case in June 2021.

In an important development, and as The Hill reported last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that it has sided against the state of New Jersey in the case. The DOJ argued that states must observe the eminent domain law allowing permit holders to take necessary property for infrastructure projects approved by federal regulators.