PennEast Pipeline crew allegedly threatened at gunpoint in New Jersey

By Joe Dolinsky - | April 21st, 2016 4:19 pm

By Joe Dolinsky

A PennEast Pipeline crew surveying land in Western New Jersey was allegedly threatened Tuesday by a pipeline project opponent said to be wielding a rifle, according to the company.

The three-member crew was attempting to confirm property data in Holland Township, New Jersey, when a man allegedly brandished the weapon and began waving it in the air, the pipeline company said Thursday in a news release. The company said the survey had been authorized for the following day.

The alleged confrontation occurred about 40 miles northwest of Mercer County, where a 114-mile natural gas pipeline projected to originate in Luzerne County is planned to terminate.

Lester Kinney Jr., who allegedly remarked he would prevent the project, was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose following an investigation by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, the company said.

No one was injured in the incident, pipeline officials said.

The interstate project has drawn protest from local residents in the path of the proposed $1 billion pipeline.

In February, Back Mountain residents ripped up the pipeline company’s eminent domain offers during a “Tear Up the Offer” demonstration. The Plains Township Board of Supervisors decried the pipeline that same month, adopting a resolution that opposed the project in a unanimous vote.

PennEast spokesperson Pat Kornick said the project remains in the application phase. A draft environmental impact statement is expected in the coming months, Kornick said.

The pipeline is slated for competition in 2018.

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL