The Supreme Court today upheld Delaware’s objection to the construction of a Liquid Natural Gas tanker loading pier in New Jersey extending into the Delaware River.
Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito dissented. Both are sons of New Jersey; both were born in Trenton, although Justice Scalia moved with his family to New York City when he was young.
The assertion provoked a barbed response from Scalia, questioning how the court would define a wharf of “extraordinary character.” “What in the world does it mean? Would a pink wharf, or a zig-zagged wharf qualify?” he asks in his dissent.
Scalia suggested that environmental concerns of some justices about the LNG project may have influenced the outcome. “Our environmentally sensitive court concedes that if New Jersey had approved a wharf of equivalent dimensions, to accommodate tankers of equivalent size, carrying tofu and bean sprouts, Delaware could not have interfered,” Scalia writes.
Although both sides make good points, I’m inclined to agree with the court in accepting the recommendation of the special master.