Deliberative action is a perfect platform for activism because may use the power of the law to restore justice. A majority of the deliberative action taken against the PennEast pipeline has been in the form of litigation. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network have been protesting the pipeline since its, inception mainly because of the lack of transparency from the regulators and the operating companies. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), “a corrupt, rogue agency”, because they are funded by “the big industries”. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network believes that the FERC is violating the due process rights because of the “structural bias” set in place by the FERC and the natural gas industry. Since 1986, the FERC has approved every natural gas pipeline that has been proposed. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network believes this happens because the FERC recovers the full cost of operation through the fees it charges to the industry it regulates. This lawsuit was filed on March 3, 2016 and was dismissed by a judge on March 23, 2017.
In the words of the judge handling the case, it was dismissed “for the basic reason that approval of pipeline projects does not increase FERC’s budget.” The judge made his decision after being urged to dismiss the case by the U.S. Department of Justice. The judge may have made a quick decision under influence of the DOJ.
After the dismissal, PennEast pipeline spokesperson Pat Kornick released a statement: “The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is an organization that stops at nothing to spread misinformation, scare the public and file ridiculous lawsuits, as validated by a federal court judge who dismissed the lawsuit that was filed last year. This is the latest example of opposition groups wasting time, tax dollars and government resources with baseless claims and ridiculous lawsuits.” PennEast’s response is hostile and illustrates their lack of concern and discourse with those who the pipeline will affect. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a local activist group, speaking on behalf of concerned citizens. Yet PennEast identifies the group as inciters of public terror.