A long-time opponent of the controversial PennEast natural gas pipeline that would traverse Mercer County, Senator Kip Bateman today said he was “extremely disappointed and frustrated” by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would allow the project to move forward.
After a disappointing ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Kip Bateman said he would continue to represent local residents who vehemently oppose the PennEast pipeline project. (©iStock)
With a narrow 5-4 decision, the court determined that New Jersey cannot block the construction of the pipeline on state-owned land. The ruling upholds authority granted by the federal government empowering PennEast to seize land through eminent domain.
“I was surprised the court agreed to hear the case, and I never expected this decision,” said Bateman. “It is not good news, but by no means is this a ‘game over’ proclamation.
“I have devoted much of my time in the Legislature to protecting New Jersey’s open spaces and natural resources, and my efforts will continue to keep this environmentally damaging, property-value destroying nuisance out of our backyards,” Bateman said.
New Jersey intended to prevent PennEast from condemning more than 40 land parcels owned by the state or protected by conservation easements, claiming state immunity from private lawsuits granted by the 11th Amendment.
To complete the project, PennEast has filed suit in federal court to condemn a total of 131 properties in the street.
“The pipeline still faces a gauntlet of ongoing legal and regulatory challenges,” Bateman said. “If the project moves forward, it could have disastrous consequences for the environment. PennEast would ford more than 30 vulnerable ‘Category One’ waterways that are essential to protecting clean water in our state. The pipeline needlessly jeopardizes the safe, clean flow of water our families and farms rely on.”
Bateman opposed the pipeline plan from the very beginning, and launched an online petition to fight the project in January 2018.
“Our residents have made it clear they have no interest in this pipeline carving its way through local communities. Together, we have been resisting this for almost five years, and this court decision is not going to discourage us,” Bateman said.
“I will continue this fight for my community and my constituents who are overwhelmingly opposed to PennEast. There is still time to stop the pipeline in its tracks,” noted Bateman.
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