Homeowners fight decision to give PennEast Pipeline access to private land

Posted: Updated:
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP -

A group of Mercer County homeowners is fighting back against a federal judge’s decision to grant the PennEast Pipeline Company rights to take private land.

The PennEast Pipeline would carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale regions in Pennsylvania through Luzerne County, 115 miles southeast to Mercer County if it was built.

The company says that it would deliver affordable, natural gas to New Jersey. But to do so, the company would have to build the pipeline on some private land and neighbors aren’t happy about this.

The pipeline would pass within 50 feet of the recently widowed Loretta Vahrley’s bedroom.

“It just put my life on hold. I wanted to do things around the house or prepare the place for sale or do repairs but what do I do?” she says.

An attorney representing the neighbors says their best hope to stop the construction may lie with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“We are hoping that at the end of the process and after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection gives a thorough review, that they will not grant the water quality certification so the pipeline will not be built,” says attorney Timothy Duggan.

Elected leaders of the pipeline-affected towns say they will take their fight on behalf of the neighbors all the way to Washington in a show of bipartisan support.

"I also don't think that it is fair that this for-profit company has the ability working through government to declare eminent domain on private property. This is not for the greater good of anybody but the PennEast Pipeline,” says Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman.

PennEast says that the company will conduct its own studies. An application will then be submitted to the NJ DEP, which will then have about a year to grant or deny the application.

A hearing is also scheduled later in the winter to determine the amount of money PennEast would pay the private landowners for use of their easements.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Live-action 'Aladdin' film flies into theaters

    Live-action 'Aladdin' film flies into theaters

    The live-action Aladdin film flew into theaters Friday.
    The live-action Aladdin film flew into theaters Friday.
  • 2019 Fleet Week New York

    2019 Fleet Week New York

    Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.
    Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.
    Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.
    Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.
  • 2019 PGA Championship Photos

    2019 PGA Championship Photos

    Are you attending the PGA Championship?  News 12 wants to see your photos!
    Are you attending the PGA Championship?  News 12 wants to see your photos!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."