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December 2005

Vol. 10, No. 49 Week of December 04, 2005

High court to hear LNG siting case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Nov. 28 to decide a dispute between New Jersey and Delaware over plans by a BP unit to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

Environmental officials in Delaware rejected plans by BP subsidiary Crown Landing LLC for a 2,000-foot pier that would serve the $600 million LNG terminal proposed for Logan Township, Gloucester County. The terminal would send out up to 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily.

Delaware controls the river up to the mean low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore under boundary determinations that date back to the seventeenth century.

New Jersey had asked the high court in July to take the case, charging that Delaware has violated a 1905 agreement that gives the Garden State the right to control water access and related structures, such as wharfs and piers, on its side of the river, even if they extend across the border.

John Hughes, Delaware’s environmental secretary, has defended his state’s ruling, saying Delaware’s environmental laws prohibit “heavy industry and certain manufacturing procedures inside our coastal zone.”

Disputes between the states are filed directly with the Supreme Court.

Delaware’s northern boundary is based on a circle described in colonial land grants to Pennsylvania founder William Penn. Penn’s claims were disputed, and the two states have challenged each other’s territorial claims almost since their formation as independent states.

In 1935, the Supreme Court, which decides disputes between states, set the current boundary but recognized the 1905 agreement.

New Jersey in July asked the court either to supplement its 1935 decree or to allow New Jersey to file a complaint, which was attached to the request. The Supreme Court, without comment, agreed to the second option and gave Delaware 30 days to respond.

The case is New Jersey v. Delaware, Case No. 134, Original.

—The Associated Press





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