JEFFREY R. SHAFER / STAR-LEDGER – PennEast tells New Jersey energy consumers (in other words, everyone in the state) that we need a new gas pipeline.
What PennEast really wants to build is a financial scheme disguised as a pipeline.
PennEast seeks permission to build a pipeline through Mercer and Hunterdon counties. Homeowners and elected officials, Democratic and Republican, are far from convinced the pipeline is needed — and for good reason.
PennEast’s problem is that — thankfully — no one can just seize private land, cut down trees and construct a pipeline without approvals from a variety of state and federal agencies. The process is intended to provide property owners with the protection of the Constitution from taking property without a public benefit.
Jeffrey R. Shafer is a former undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury, and former vice chairman for Citigroup. Shafer’s house is on the route of the proposed PennEast pipeline.