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Supreme Court upholds Delaware border claim

Ruling 6 to 2, the justices say New Jersey has no right to build a liquefied natural gas plant with a Delaware River pier.

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Delaware has won a border dispute with neighboring New Jersey over its power to block development projects on the Jersey side of the Delaware River.

In a 6-to-2 decision announced on Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that Delaware has the authority to block a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in New Jersey.

That power stems from Delaware's sovereign control over the entire Delaware River up to the banks on the Jersey side, where the project is planned.

Citing coastal environmental concerns, Delaware officials sought to stop the proposed Crown Landing terminal project by refusing to permit construction of a pier and tanker-loading area extending from the plant into the river.

Delaware's claim to the entire river dates from a 1682 land grant from the Duke of York to William Penn. In earlier versions of the same border dispute, the Supreme Court has upheld Delaware's control over the entire river. At issue in the most recent version of the dispute was whether Delaware had granted open-ended permission to New Jersey to pursue development projects extending into the river under a 1905 agreement between the two states.

In its ruling on Monday, the court found that Delaware's authority over the river remained undiminished despite the agreement known as the 1905 Compact.


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