New Jersey v. Delaware

The US Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments regarding the New Jersey-Delaware LNG terminal dispute previously covered at the blog here. The dispute centers on a proposed LNG terminal that energy giant BP wants to build on the Jersey side of the river.

Delaware has refused to authorize the construction of a 2,000-foot-long pier, which would be built on part of the river bottom that belongs to Delaware. Once again, here’s the map:

The arguments:

New Jersey: Yes, Delaware owns the land. But says a century-old agreement allows each state to control piers on its side of the river. A pier on the New Jersey side that can’t stretch onto Delaware territory to reach the main shipping channel is worthless, that’s where the ships are.

Delaware: Decisions on what to build on Delaware land belong to Delaware. Boundaries matter. And on a practical level, Delaware has only twice in 160 years denied permission to build a pier on the Jersey side of the river and both instances involved LNG facilities, for which the state has safety concerns.

A court-appointed special master concluded earlier this year that
Delaware has the authority to block the pier. Justice Stephen Breyer is not taking part in the case because he owns BP stock, raising the potential of a 4 to 4. A tie often means that a lower court ruling is upheld, but disputes between states are decided by the Supreme
Court in the first instance. What happens in the case of the tie? There’s no precedent, and in this case, we may just find out.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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2 Responses to New Jersey v. Delaware

  1. IJ says:

    Government lawyers won’t be short of suggestions. In due course the Federal government will probably take possession of whatever land it considers necessary for the nation’s energy strategy.

    Hopefully Argentina won’t try this with the Falkland Islands.

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Delaware Wins!