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Big day for New Jersey: Judge says private company can't take state's land

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 12, 2019
A federal appeals court ruled that PennEast, a private company, cannot condemn State-owned lands in order to build part of its planned 116-mile natural gas pipeline across New Jersey, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced.
America   PennEast cannot condemn State-owned lands
Issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the decision reverses an earlier district court ruling that had allowed PennEast to condemn approximately 40 parcels previously and permanently preserved for recreational, conservation and/or agricultural uses through State tax dollars.

Topics: New Jersey company land

Agreeing with New Jersey’s arguments, the Third Circuit held that, under the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the State is immune from condemnation lawsuits by private parties, including pipeline companies.

Under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, the State cannot be sued by a private entity without its consent.

“We will not hesitate to stand up to private companies when their actions violate the law—or, in this case, the U.S. Constitution,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

“From the very beginning, we have made clear that the Eleventh Amendment prohibits private pipeline companies like PennEast from condemning state properties for private use, and we’re pleased that the Third Circuit agreed with our position. This is great news for New Jersey and the environment.”