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March 30, 2020

EEIA Urges U.S. Supreme Court To Prevent States From Vetoing Pipelines

MSCI’s partners at the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) have closely followed the PennEast Pipeline case in New Jersey not only because of its importance to natural gas infrastructure in the region, but also because the case could set a dangerous precedent against pipelines nationwide, giving an individual state the power to veto federally-licensed interstate pipeline projects.

Late last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware ruled that PennEast cannot exercise its federally-delegated eminent domain authority to route the pipeline through New Jersey state-owned property, threatening the project in that state. PennEast petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in February to review and overturn the Third Circuit’s ruling.

Last week, EEIA weighed in strongly with the Supreme Court, filing an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) brief presenting a compelling argument why the Court should review and set aside the Third Circuit’s decision. EEIA argued that the case presents a question of immediate and exceptional national importance that endangers the boom in natural gas production, and that the Third Circuit’s decision will have severe national economic consequences on the extensive supply chain that provides construction, equipment, labor, and services necessary to build interstate pipelines.

The Supreme Court will decide over the next few months if it will accept the case for review. If it does, arguments will be heard somewhat later and a ruling could come before the end of the year. EEIA’s statement summarizing the brief is here, and the brief itself is here.