A special master to the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the state of Delaware has the authority to block the construction of an off-loading pier that would serve a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal being proposed by BP’s Crown Landing LLC along the Delaware River in Logan Township, NJ.

In a report issued last Thursday, special master Ralph I. Lancaster said “Delaware, as the sovereign, retains…jurisdiction to exercise its full complement of police powers to regulate…improvements extending from New Jersey’s shore” into the Delaware River. But New Jersey’s authority to exercise jurisdiction over improvements is “limited” by a 1905 compact between the two states, he noted. The decision is subject to Supreme Court review.

In August 2005, New Jersey petitioned the high court to settle the ongoing boundary dispute with the state of Delaware that was reignited when Crown Landing proposed building the off-loading pier along the Delaware River (see Daily GPI, Aug. 4, 2005).

New Jersey’s action was fueled by Delaware’s assertion of regulatory jurisdiction over the construction of the proposed pier, which it opposes. By claiming it had jurisdiction over a portion of New Jersey’s side of the river, Delaware in February 2005 denied a permit to Crown Landing LLC for the construction of the proposed pier (see Daily GPI, Feb. 4, 2005). It said the proposed LNG off-loading pier that would extend into the Delaware River was prohibited by Delaware’s coastal zone laws.

The project would be located on the New Jersey shoreline of the Delaware River within the so-called “twelve-mile circle,” where Delaware’s border extends to the low-water mark on the New Jersey shore.

The pier would be used to transfer LNG from tankers in the Delaware River to storage and regasification facilities in New Jersey. The proposed import terminal would have a sendout capability of 1.2 Bcf/d and is targeted for service in 2009.

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