Home > Uncategorized > Groundhog Day On PennEast Pipeline – As Predicted, US Supreme Court Backs PennEast (Just Like Biden Did)

Groundhog Day On PennEast Pipeline – As Predicted, US Supreme Court Backs PennEast (Just Like Biden Did)

Once Again, We Are Forced To Say “I Told You So”

Failed Strategy, Failed Media, Failed Politics

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Under my administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years. We’ve opened up new areas for exploration. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some,” Obama said (source)

Does anyone remember, no so long ago, when Tom Gilbert spiked the ball and claimed that a federal court had “stopped PennEast in its tracks”?

When NJ Attorney General Grewal bragged about his “major victory”?

When the Watershed Wimps spouted drivel about this “groundbreaking ruling”?

Or when NJ Spotlight drank this Kool-Aid and was sure to tell readers that “The Murphy Administration sees it as a big victory”?

At the time (September 11, 2019), of course I called BS on this spin:

They are exaggerating, misleading the public, making factually false statements, and simply not telling the full story. The decision is not a “groundbreaking ruling”, not a “major victory”, and will not “stop the project in its tracks”.

By making these exaggerated and false claims, they are undermining activist efforts to block all proposed pipelines and all fossil infrastructure, to inject climate change in regulatory decisions, and to enforce the Clean Water Act.

We exposed the failed focus on open space, see:

I want to make a few points of contrast to explain why the response by conservationists to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the PennEast pipeline is so wrong headed, selfish, counter-productive, diversionary, and outright dangerous.

And we exposed the failed neglect and outright lies about DEP’s regulatory power, most recently last January, see:

Once again, they got it wrong on the permit status. NJ Spotlight wrote:

“In October, the DEP denied PennEast’s application for a water-quality permit for the second time, saying the Third Circuit’s ruling means the company “no longer has the legal authority to perform activities” on the 49 parcels.”

Spotlight got it wrong again – the DEP phrase “no longer has the legal authority” issue is NOT a denial of the permits on the technical merits. The DEP deemed the applications incomplete because company can’t submit a complete application because they are blocked from condemning state land.

As a result of the Supreme COurt’s decision, PennEast is no longer blocked from condemning state land, so the ball will soon be back in DEP’s court for a real substantive regulatory decision on PennEast permits.

[For the complete 9/11/19 post, see;  Here’s How To Really Kill The PennEast Pipeline]

Well, yesterday the US Supreme Court – in a 5-4 decision – reversed that “groundbreaking ruling“, wiped out that “major victory” and put PennEast right on track.

So once again, we are forced to say “We told you so!” (something I’ve been vindicated on multiple times for more than a decade now). Once again, these fools got it wrong and are caught FERC-ing off.

Are there no consequences for failure? Or is failure rewarded?

It is remarkable that these idiots don’t lose any credibility for repeated failure, but instead garner even MORE Foundation and wealthy donor money (especially from those rich white people in Hunterdon County with art studio’s and organic gardens) and media coverage.

But that’s not all.

In today’s NJ Spotlight story that reported on this US Supreme Court decision, all the prior celebrations and spin were completely ignored.

Even worse, NJ Spotlight coverage and Tom Gilbert again:

1) failed to mention the Water Quality Certification issue, which is the only regulatory tool DEP has to actually kill the pipeline;

2) failed to mention that the Biden Administration’s legal brief to the Supreme Court supported PennEast, a huge betrayal, (for that brief, see:

3) misled readers about a fake DEP permit denial (DEP did not deny the permits on substantive grounds that are enforceable, i.e. WQC denial on the merits)

Back in March 2021, upon learning of the Biden Supreme Court brief, I went out of my way to highlight the fact that Biden was contradicting his own climate commitments and to explain the implications of the likely Supreme Court loss. I wrote:

In the likely event that the 6-3 right wing Supreme Court agrees [with the Biden and NJ BIA briefs], the implications are nation-wide and a disaster for climate and anti-pipeline activists. The NJ BIA brief makes those implications very clear

I also reiterated (for the 10th time?) a strategy that can kill the pipeline and survive judicial scrutiny:

The Biden brief exposes the misguided strategy of NJ’s “Green Mafia”, who have relied on private property protections and virtually ignored State Police powers and DEP’s regulatory powers under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to kill the PennEast and other pipelines.

We’ve been writing about that and NY State and Connecticut’s 401 WQC denials, and criticizing NJ fools like Tom Gilbert for their failure to focus on it for over 4 years, see:

Media should ask AG Grewal if NJ DEP is willing to pull that legal trigger. [i.e. legal support of DEP’s WQC denial]

Because NJ Attorney General Grewal has pledged to enforce other legal authorities to kill the pipeline, so let me repeat that point:

Media should ask AG Grewal if NJ DEP is willing to pull that legal trigger. [i.e. legal support of DEP’s WQC denial]

I would expect that the real climate and anti-pipeline activists [i.e. the Empower NJ Coalition] have a sign-on letter to Gov. Murphy all teed up – demanding that DEP deny the WQC – a letter they should deliver to the Governor at a huge Trenton protest.

I get tired of this Groundhog Day.

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