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Lawyer says pipeline's future is at stake in Supreme Court land dispute

Lawyer says pipeline's future is at stake in Supreme Court land dispute
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A lawyer representing the PennEast pipeline said that its future is at stake during oral arguments before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. 

Lawyer Paul Clement said it's likely that the pipeline will not be built if PennEast is not allowed to use eminent domain to seize land belonging to the state of New Jersey to complete it.

“If we lose this case, then this pipeline will not be built, at least at anything like its current configuration, and depending on how exactly we lose this case, I think this federal interstate pipeline, until the law is changed, will be at the mercy of New Jersey, because I don’t think there is a way to reroute this pipeline in a way that doesn’t implicate a state interest in land,” Clement said.

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“This pipeline has to cross the Delaware River somewhere and half of the Delaware River belongs to New Jersey so there’s just no way for this pipeline to exist under the current law,” he added. 

The $1 billion planned PennEast pipeline would span 120 miles and carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

The company argued that it can use eminent domain to seize land because it was deputized to do so by the federal government, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project. 

However, New Jersey argued that doing so would violate its sovereign immunity protecting it from lawsuits. 

The U.S. government is siding with PennEast on the matter.