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In re PennEast Pipeline Co., LLC

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20004
Nos. 18-1585, (D.N.J., 12/14/2018) (Martinotti, J.)

In an unpublished opinion, a district court granted a pipeline company eminent domain rights to properties in New Jersey for construction of a natural gas pipeline. Property owners argued that the company's application to immediately access and possess their properties was improper because it failed to file a motion for summary judgment before or in conjunction with its motion for a preliminary injunction in the form of immediate possession, as required under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and thus operated as an impermissible "quick-take." But the court disagreed, finding the company's failure to file a summary judgment motion did not convert its condemnation action into a "quick-take" under the Declaration of Taking Act. Some owners also argued that FERC's order issuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity to the company was incomplete because it did not make a finding of public necessity. But the court held that the Commission did make such a finding and that the company was a holder of the certificate. Because the company established it had a substantive right to eminent domain under the NGA, the court granted its request for orders of condemnation and for preliminary injunctive relief allowing immediate possession of the properties in advance of awarding just compensation.