Time to Force NY DEC to Issue Permit for Constitution Pipeline

enough is enoughEnough is enough. It’s become quite obvious that NY Gov. Cuomo is up to his old tricks–delay and then deny. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) long ago approved the Williams Constitution Pipeline (see FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY). The Constitution is a desperately needed pipeline that will largely following an existing utility corridor where electric lines are run, going from Susquehanna County, PA into Broome County, NY (very near to MDN HQ), into Chenango County, Delaware County, briefly touching Otsego County, and terminating in Schoharie County where it will connect with the Iroquois and Tennessee Gas pipelines. The pipeline will not only provide northeast PA gas to people in the New York City/New England area, there will be taps along the pipeline to deliver gas locally to communities along the way. The only thing preventing the pipeline from being built is the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation. They need to issue what is called a 401 Water Quality Certificate that allows the pipeline to cross streams, swamps and other bodies of water. It is a no-brainer. Yet the DEC is withholding the certificate. MDN received an appeal from the Constitution to show our support–to add our name to a list of people supporting the project (to send a message to Gov. Cuomo). We have, and we’re encouraging you to do the same…

Here’s the appeal we received:

Mike Atchie letter
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By clicking the link in the letter, you go to this page:

Sign the letter
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When you click to sign the letter, here is the letter you’re signing and sending to Gov. Cuomo:

Signed letter
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See the bottom where it says only 38 have signed it so far? That’s not enough! PLEASE sign it. Today. Now. Go to this page: //nysdec-williams.nationbuilder.com/ny_can_t_wait_ii

Having said that, we’re not at all sure Cuomo is going to relent. We’ve seen this pattern before. Delay for a long time, and then just announce you’re denying. That’s they way sleazy politicians like Cuomo work. He did it with fracking, and now he’s doing it with this pipeline.

Legal Options

When MDN editor Jim Willis attended the Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia in September, he listened to a panel discussion of midstream (pipeline) experts, including a former FERC commissioner. He got to ask a question and the question, roughly, was this: “The NY DEC is currently holding up the FERC-approved Constitution Pipeline. What if the DEC refuses to issue the necessary permits? What happens next?” The answer Jim got was, “It depends.” The bottom line seems to be that it’s likely FERC (and Williams) will need to take the DEC to court. The DEC frankly has no legal right to prevent a federally approved project from being built. That’s the bottom line. It may take a court to force the DEC (and Gov. Cuomo) to act, but in this matter the law is on our side. This is not a question of “if,” it is a question of “when” the pipeline will get built.

Our advice to Williams: quit trying to win a PR war you won’t win in Communist NY and take Cuomo and the DEC to court and force this through before any more time slips by. The law is with you. Use it!

In the meantime, let’s all flood the Constitution letter site and send Cuomo a PR message of our own. Even if it won’t do any good, it still feels good. 🙂