A little more than a year after it announced plans that triggered outcry and concern, PennEast Pipeline submitted a formal application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a 118-mile-long natural gas pipeline.

The submission signals the next critical step in moving forward with the pipeline, which would travel from Wilkes-Barre to Mercer County, N.J., crossing through nine Northampton County municipalities along the way.

FERC, an independent agency that regulates interstate utility lines, must decide whether to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, which would authorize PennEast to construct, install, own and operate the pipeline.

A copy of the formal application was not immediately available, though PennEast spokeswoman Pat Kornick confirmed it had been submitted Thursday evening.

It could take several hours for the application to be posted to FERC’s website, she said.

Pipeline officials held a news conference Thursday morning to announce the filing and extol the economic benefits of the project.

They say it would stabilize natural gas supplies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, delivering reduced energy costs to residents and businesses as it moves natural gas from Marcellus Shale in northern Pennsylvania to markets in eastern and southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Full story here.

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