Showdown: Millennium Asks FERC for Permission to Ignore NY DEC

This is it folks. This is the case that will crush New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s blockade of important pipeline projects in the Empire State. For 19 months the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has dithered around, at the prompting of Andrew Cuomo, and has refused to grant federal Section 401 Water Quality Certification stream crossing permits for a tiny 7.8 mile pipeline spur off the Millennium Pipeline in Orange County, NY, called the Valley Lateral Project, to feed a gas-fired electric generating plant that is now under construction. Statutorily NY has 12 months (1 year) to review such an application and act on it. NY has refused to act on it. So Millennium took the NY DEC to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In June the court dismissed the lawsuit by Millennium, which at first blush may seem like a blow. But it was the reasoning and opinion of the judges in dismissing the case that will change everything in New York. The judges said there is no case because if, as Millennium says, the DEC is denying the water permits, FERC itself has the power to jump back in and simply override NY DEC and issue the permits (see DC Court Tells Millennium FERC Can Override NY DEC Pipeline Delay). Last Friday Millennium pulled the trigger and did it–they sent an official request to FERC (copy below) that outlines their Herculean efforts to work with NY DEC over the past 19 months, and asks FERC to move forward with permission to build the pipeline anyway–IGNORING THE DEC. If FERC agrees (and we think they will), NY DEC is about to become irrelevant in ALL FERC-approved pipeline projects they are blocking, including the Williams Constitution and National Fuel Gas Northern Access projects…

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