Pipelines & Linear Transmission

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Saul Ewing assists its clients in navigating the maze of federal and state regulations which control the development of linear transmission by companies who are not regulated as state public utilities.  Pipelines and above and underground HVAC and HVDC electric lines are necessary for the implementation of the climate goals of states and the federal government, but face a patchwork of federal and state regulation, and often opposition from the communities they are intended to serve.

Saul Ewing attorneys represent owners and operators of FERC-regulated interstate natural gas transmission pipelines, other midstream pipelines, and inter- and intrastate renewable energy transmission on all aspects of project development. As the energy mix in the U.S. evolves, the firm’s extensive experience with the backbone of our energy system—natural gas pipelines—is directly applicable to the development of linear infrastructure from traditional sources and from offshore and onshore wind generation and solar generation. Our team assists clients who need to acquire property rights from hundreds or thousands of individual landowners with the many issues that arise, from title and easement issues to permitting issues.

Saul Ewing also has extensive experience anticipating, understanding and responding to potential opposition groups. Our relationships with a broad array of local, state and national non-governmental organizations are an asset to the negotiation process. When necessary, we litigate against these groups as well and have a strong track record of success. We have defended claims brought under the Natural Gas Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as suits regarding the role of state governments pursuant to state laws and regulations, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

From concept development to final approval and appeals, we provide counseling in the following areas:

  • Real Estate: obtaining property rights through purchase, negotiation of easements or eminent domain
  • Permitting: securing air, water and solid waste permits required by local, state, and federal environmental authorities, as well as other types of permits, such as agreements with Native American tribes
  • Zoning, Land Use and Subdivision: securing approvals at the state and local levels 
  • Federal, State and Local Tax: advising on income (including tax credits), property, transfer and other tax issues
  • Financing: helping clients secure funding for pipeline and renewable linear transmission projects 
  • Federal and State Regulatory Commissions: representing clients at all stages of project approval proceedings regarding construction and operation of pipelines and renewable linear transmission 
  • Interconnections: assisting clients with interconnections to individual users, utilities or the regional grid
  • Contracting: drafting and negotiating contracts including those related to procurement, equipment purchase, construction, operation and maintenance
  • Government and Community Relations: managing a variety of political and local issues on behalf of our clients
  • Disputes and Litigation: representing clients in federal and state trial and appellate courts and alternative dispute resolution forums when disputes arise from projects, including construction claims and landowner issues


Key Contacts
Elizabeth Witmer
Pamela S. Goodwin
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Saul Ewing attorneys have represented clients in these select pipeline and linear transmission matters:


  • Two major U.S. pipeline developers in their efforts to obtain air and water permits in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, and before the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. We also defended and prosecuted permit challenges in state and federal court.  
  • A major pipeline developer in successfully obtaining all necessary federal and state permits and approval for a $3 billion greenfield pipeline project in Pennsylvania.
  • An interstate natural gas pipeline company in obtaining grants of possession for all easements needed for construction of a more than 200-mile pipeline that will cross 10 counties in Pennsylvania and includes the construction and modification of facilities in Pennsylvania as well as four other states. This matter involved 80 condemnation actions in two federal courts.
  • A natural gas pipelines company in successfully obtaining all property rights, including 23 condemnations in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, for a pipeline project. We successfully defended third-party appeals resulting in two precedential opinions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upholding the issuance of water quality permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 
  • An interstate natural gas pipeline company in a precedential decision by the Third Circuit upholding the constitutionality of possession orders granted upon requests for injunction. The court affirmed the process that our client had been using to obtain possession of right of way for interstate pipeline projects under the Natural Gas Act. The case had national significance in that it confirmed the power of the district courts to grant injunctions for possession. The project at issue, now in service, provides transportation of almost one million dekatherms of natural gas per day to the East Coast. 
  • An interstate natural gas pipeline company in successfully opposing a certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court by non-governmental groups, who sought review of a Third Circuit opinion upholding the jurisdiction of the federal appellate courts over appeals of federal permits issued by state agencies for interstate natural gas pipeline projects. The case has national significance for interstate natural gas pipelines who are battling to keep appeals of aspects of their projects in the federal appellate courts.
  • An energy transmission company in assisting with obtaining a major diversion of funded parkland from a state department of environmental protection’s Green Acres Program. The diversion is for a permanent easement to install, operate and maintain a natural gas pipeline that will connect two existing pipelines. 
  • A natural gas pipeline company in achieving a significant appellate victory in connection with a pipeline project that our client had opted to halt. Opponents of the project continued to press challenges to orders authorizing the project issued by the FERC. Our team successfully argued that the challenges should be dismissed as moot, and the court vacated the underlying orders before remanding to the agency. This allowed our client to avoid piecemeal litigation. 
  • An interstate natural gas pipeline company in the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in a case involving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which allowed a precedential decision by the Third Circuit in favor of our client, to stand. The case involved a group of nuns, whose property is crossed by the pipeline. The nuns failed to raise any concerns about the pipeline and its impact on their religious observances at FERC, and then tried, and failed, to use RFRA to circumvent an order of condemnation of their property under the Natural Gas Act.
  • An interstate natural gas pipeline company in an en banc appeal to the DC Circuit regarding condemnation of rights-of-way across two properties in Pennsylvania, which the landowners opposed. The plaintiff claimed that the process by which FERC orders are reviewed violates due process. The court affirmed the prior substantive decision that FERC had properly determined the public need for the project.
  • An interstate natural gas pipeline company in two significant appellate victories in a case filed by a serial pipeline opponent regarding the payment of just compensation for the easement taken on his property to construct a pipeline. The appeals court gave our client a complete victory, granting our dispositive motions in both cases.

Linear Transmission

  • An offshore wind company in the purchase and sale agreement to acquire land from an integrated power company to create an onshore substation and point of interconnection with the grid for the company’s electrical transmission cable. 
  • An offshore wind developer as local counsel advising on an offshore wind project located off the coast of New Jersey, including transmission and interconnection. 
  • An offshore wind developer with permitting and land use issues for the development of transmission in bringing electricity from the coast of New Jersey to the New York and New Jersey power grids. Advised on a complex bid offering to PJM and the New Jersey BPU as part of an initiative referred to as the State Agreement Approach.
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