Battle Begins to Get NY DEC to Approve Northern Access Project

Déjà vu all over again? Last Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a long-delayed project–National Fuel Gas Company’s 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). We hope the DEC doesn’t repeat their tragic “Constitution” mistake with the Northern Access project. Last night, and again tonight and tomorrow night, the DEC is holding public hearings on the project in western NY. Interestingly, last night the crowd that turned up was about evenly split between those against the project, and those for it…

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