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Commissioner Neil Chatterjee Statement
January 19, 2018
Docket No. CP15-558-000
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The PennEast Project

“I concur in this order and agree with granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity to PennEast, authorizing it to construct and operate the proposed PennEast Project, subject to the conditions in the order. I believe a clear need has been demonstrated for the project. PennEast has executed long-term, firm precedent agreements with 12 shippers for approximately 90 percent of the project’s capacity. This additional gas infrastructure will provide additional natural gas transportation capacity into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“However, I do have concerns about the order’s impact on landowners. For this project, there are incomplete surveys due to lack of access to landowner property. I recognize that the rights of landowners are important, and do not take their concerns lightly. Under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act, once the Commission grants a certificate, a certificate holder is authorized to acquire the necessary land or property to construct the approved facilities by exercising the right of eminent domain if it cannot acquire the easement by an agreement with the landowner. It is important that the Commission have as much data as possible on which to base a determination that has such a momentous effect.

“I am supporting the project despite these concerns, because I believe the Commission has sufficient information in the record on which to make its decision – the certificate application and supplements, information developed through Commission staff’s data requests, field investigations, the scoping process, literature research, alternatives analysis, and contacts with federal, state, and local agencies, and individual members of the public. Additionally, the order imposes conditions requiring the filing of additional environmental information for review and approval once survey access is obtained.

“But I would like to encourage pipeline companies and landowners to work with the Commission to maximize engagement and minimize the impacts on landowners going forward. I believe that a cooperative process leads to the best results for all stakeholders.

“For these reasons, I respectfully concur.”

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