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TRANSCONTINENTAL GAS PIPE LINE CORP. v. BOROUGH OF

September 23, 1950

TRANSCONTINENTAL GAS PIPE LINE CORPORATION
v.
BOROUGH OF MILLTOWN, MIDDLESEX COUNTY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FORMAN

Plaintiff seeks an injunction to restrain defendant from interfering with or prohibiting it from constructing its 30 inch natural gas transmission pipe line through the defendant municipality.

Findings of Fact

 From the admitted allegations in the complaint, concessions of counsel at the pretrial conference and the final hearing in this case I find the following facts:

 1. Plaintiff is a Delaware corporation

 2. Defendant is a municipal corporation organized under the laws of New Jersey.

 3. The matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $ 3,000.

 4. The action arises under the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8, clause 3, and Amendment XIV, and the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 717 et seq.

 5. Plaintiff is authorized to construct and operate a pipe line for the transmission of natural gas from points in the States of Texas and Louisiana to points in the States of Texas and Louisiana to points in the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York under a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Federal Power Commission on November 18, 1948, and is endowed with the power of eminent domain pursuant to the Natural Gas Act, as aforesaid.

 6. Plaintiff is engaged in the construction of a main gas pipe line not exceeding 30 inches in diameter, approximately 1800 miles from its beginning point to its terminal points, in 14 states of the United States, and the installation is complete except for approximately 60 miles.

 7. Plaintiff has entered into contracts for the transmission of natural gas to local public utility companies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, which will utilize it for redistribution, for mixing with and enriching manufactured gas or as boiler fuel for the generation of electricity and the said utility companies serve many millions of persons in their respective areas.

 8. Plaintiff has obtained easements, rights of way and other authorizations from owners of land in and in the vicinity of the defendant, Borough of Milltown, for the underground installation, maintenance, operation, repair, renewal and removal of its 30 inch natural gas transmission pipe line extending in a continuous line without interruption from a point several miles south of the defendant, Borough of Milltown, through it and to a point several miles north of it. To the extent of approximately 18 miles of this course the plaintiff has obtained permission from the Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey to lay its pipe line within a 100 foot right of way owned by said company and on which is contained its high tension power lines. The said right of way crosses the defendant municipality and plaintiff proposes to traverse 3100 feet within it by exercising its right to use the said right of way except for one deviation therefrom in which it has obtained authority to lay the line from the owner, namely the estate of John Christ.

 9. In so traversing the defendant municipality plaintiff will construct its installation under three street crossings- Lawrence and Highland Avenues and North Main Street.

 11. In January 1950 the plaintiff advised the defendant of its intention to construct its pipe line through it, specified the proposed location and requested appropriate action by the municipality to determine that the public easement in several streets it would cross would not be interfered with.

 12. The request of the plaintiff was referred by defendant's Borough Council to its Planning Board which in April, 1950 reported its disapproval of the projected pipe line of the plaintiff through the defendant and recommended that plaintiff be prohibited from installing it within the corporate limits of the defendant.

 13. Plaintiff renewed its request to defendant and on May 22, 1950 defendant's Borough Council adopted a resolution in which it was determined that the installation of plaintiff's pipe line would not interfere with the public easement in any streets.

 14. On or about May 31, 1950 defendant's Planning Board adopted a resolution censoring the defendant's Borough Council for the adoption of the said resolution and reaffirmed its opposition to the construction and operation of plaintiff's pipe line.

 15. Thereafter on May 31, 1950 defendant's mayor vetoed the resolution adopted May 22, 1950, and defendant's Borough Council rescinded the aforesaid resolution.

 16. Defendant through its officers and agents has ordered plaintiff's contractors and employees to cease excavation work in progress toward crossing Highland Avenue and has prevented plaintiff's contractors and employees from installing its pipe line.

 17. On June 14, 1943 the defendant adopted a Zoning Ordinance, which was amended July 26, 1943, the introduction to which is as follows:

 'An Ordinance to limit and restrict to specified districts or zones and to regulate therein buildings and structures, according to their construction and the nature and extent of their use in the Borough of Milltown; establishing a Board of Adjustment; and providing penalties for the violation thereof.

 'The Borough Council of the Borough of Milltown, in the County of Middlesex, and State of New Jersey, for the purpose of securing safety from fire and other dangers and of promoting the public health, morals and welfare, including so far as conditions will permit, provision for adequate light, air and convenience of access, having reasonable regard to the character of buildings already in each district designated, the value of the land and the most desirable use for which the land may be adopted, so as to ...


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