January 22, 2018 / 2:57 PM / a year ago

U.S. approves construction of Penn.-N.J. PennEast natgas pipeline

(Reuters) - U.S. energy regulators approved construction of the PennEast natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, the companies seeking to build the roughly $1 billion project said on Monday:

- Before the companies can start building the pipeline, however, they still need to get permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission, according to a statement from several groups opposed to the PennEast project, including HALT PennEast (Homeowners Against Land Taking)

- The companies looking to build the pipeline said in a news release they would “work to finalize fair and positive compensation agreements with landowners” in the coming days and “survey crews will collect remaining field data in support of our permit applications to ensure minimal environmental and community impact” in coming weeks

- The approximately 120-mile (190-km) pipeline will deliver gas from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania to customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

- The companies building the project said they expect to start construction this year, with the pipe entering service in 2019

- The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the construction on Friday, just before the U.S. government shutdown

- Two of the five FERC commissioners, Cheryl LaFleur and Neil Chatterjee, filed statements concurring with the decision and one commissioner, Richard Glick dissented in the decision

- Glick said he dissented because he does not believe the companies seeking to build the pipeline showed that it is needed since most of the companies seeking to use the project are also affiliates of those looking to build it

- The companies seeking to build the project include units of New Jersey Resources Corp (NJR), South Jersey Industries Inc (SJI), Southern Co, Enbridge Inc and UGI Corp

- The companies with contracts to use the project include units of NJR, SJI, Southern, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc and Consolidated Edison Inc

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Susan Thomas and Tom Brown

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