New Jersey regulators deem pipeline application incomplete

An application for a more than $1 billion proposed natural gas pipeline originating in Pennsylvania and ending in New Jersey is incomplete, state regulators said in a letter Wednesday.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection told PennEast it has 30 days to resubmit its freshwater permit application for the proposed 120-mile (193-kilometer) pipeline.

The application lacks consent from property owners along the path of the pipeline as well as technical information like a survey of endangered and threatened species, according to the DEP.

PennEast did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has previously said it hopes the pipeline would be operational in 2018.

Environmental groups opposed to the pipeline cheered the development as setback. They say the pipeline could threaten pristine waterways, vulnerable animals and habitats as well as scar the land.

PennEast said the project would create jobs and provide the region with a new energy source.

The project also is awaiting a determination from federal regulators on whether there's a need for the project. That step could be delayed because the commission lacks the quorum required for such approvals.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's final environmental impact study outlined several areas of concern, including trace amounts of arsenic in some rocks the pipeline would cross and potential threats to endangered and threatened species, including the bog turtle and Indiana bat.

But the report issued earlier this month said PennEast is proposing mitigation efforts such as well monitoring and avoiding endangered animal habitats.

The pipeline would originate in Dallas, Pennsylvania, and end at near Pennington, New Jersey.