Gutsy: NFG Asks FERC to Cut NY DEC Out of Pipeline Approval

On Feb. 3, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a long-delayed project–National Fuel Gas Company’s (NFG) Northern Access 2016 pipeline project (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval). The $455 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton. Although FERC has now given permission to build it, the State of New York, specifically the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), must issue stream crossing permits. Sound familiar? The DEC faced a similar task with the FERC-approved Constitution Pipeline and ultimately, under political pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, made the decision to refuse granting Williams the permits it needs to build the Constitution. Williams sued and sometime this spring NY will almost certainly lose the case (see Bloomberg Predicts Court Will Strip NY’s Right to Stop Constitution). With the approval arriving, the DEC decided maybe it was time to begin conducting circus public hearings about the project (see Battle Begins to Get NY DEC to Approve Northern Access Project). But NFG is in no mood to screw around with the Cuomo DEC, so they’ve asked FERC for a “reconsideration and clarification” on the role of the DEC in reviewing the project. Specifically, NFG wants FERC to rule that the DEC has NO role in reviewing the Northern Access 2016 project. Wouldn’t that be sweet?…

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