Cuomo Pipe Policies Put Thousands of Union Members Out of Work

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3303). Two weeks ago we told you about S. 3303, a bill that will “fix” the issue of states like New York using Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to have a say in where interstate pipeline routes can pass through a state, from abusing that authority to block pipeline projects (see US Senate Bill Fixes States Blocking Pipelines via Water Permits). One of the people testifying at yesterday’s hearing was Brent Booker, the secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions. Brent represents some 3 million (!) union workers. He spoke passionately about the damage that has been done by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo in blocking new pipeline projects. Because of Cuomo’s actions, literally thousands of union workers (Democrat voters) are now out of work–people who could have been working all along but aren’t because Cuomo is abusing the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 401 to politically block new fossil fuel pipelines…
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Caithness Energy Sues PSEG for Blocking Long Island Gas-Fired Plant

Caithness Energy, a privately held company that specializes in buying or building (and operating) renewable energy and natural gas-fired power plants, owns a 350 megawatt natgas-fired power plant in Yaphank, NY–on Long Island. For more than four years Caithness has had a plan to build a second natgas-fired plant next to their first plant. The original plan was for a 750 MW plant, later scaled back to 600 MW. Local leaders in Brookhaven Town in which the existing and proposed power plant projects sit have been against the plan for a new power plant, passing restrictions in 2015 that tied the hands of Caithness, making the project impossible to build. But in July, the board reversed course and voted to repeal the 2015 restriction that limits the type of equipment Caithness can use in building the plant, clearing the way for the project (see Long Island Town Votes to Allow New Gas-Fired Elec Plant). However, the path is still not cleared. Newark, NJ-based PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group), which provides electricity to Long Island, told the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) that the Caithness plant is not needed. It’s a case of one competitor unfairly trying to block another–according to Caithness, which has just filed a lawsuit against PSEG saying it has suffered “hundreds of millions of dollars of harm” because of PSEG’s actions to block the project. Looks like this one is going to get NY nasty…
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Antis Still Can’t Come to Terms They Lost NY AIM Pipe Case

Big Green antis thought they could stop the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project–an expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the project. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project near the Indian Point nuclear plant (which will shut down in a few years anyway), AIM finally went online in late 2016. In what has become a typical pattern, Big Green groups asked FERC to rehear their decision to approve AIM, FERC refused, and Big Green then filed a lawsuit in federal court. But two weeks ago the federal court told the antis “no,” crushing their efforts to roll back the expanded pipeline (see DC Circuit Court Denies Anti Request to Rehear AIM Pipe Approval). That should be the end of the matter. There’s no place left to go, court-wise, except maybe (one in a million odds) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet the antis, still disbelieving they’ve lost, are threatening to pursue it legally. Some unstable people just can’t let go…
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Cuomo Plan to Divest Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels Cost NY $1T

Andrew Cuomo – tinhorn dictator of NY

Sorry to harp yet again on the tinhorn dictator Andrew Cuomo, so-called governor of New York, but his actions are so egregious, so outside the mainstream, we can’t keep silent. Cuomo is bragging that he’s not only shut down fracking in the state, he’s also blocking natural gas pipelines and blocking new gas-fired electric generating plants. He’s clinically off his rocker. And now Cuomo is pushing NY’s public employee pension fund to completely divest any stock holdings in fossil fuel companies. University of Chicago Law School Prof. Daniel Fischel and Compass Lexecon economists Christopher Fiore and Todd Kendall have analyzed the risks associated with fossil fuel divestment by both New York and Colorado’s retirement funds. They found that over the next 50 years, divesting NY’s retirement fund will cost NY pensioners $1 TRILLION of value they otherwise would have had in their pockets. Will anyone have the guts to stop the Cuomo train wreck before it’s too late?…
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Big News: FERC Overrules NY DEC to Approve Northern Access Pipe

Finally, a New York pipeline story with a happy ending. On Feb. 3, 2017, 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 $500 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 granted permission to build it, the State of New York, specifically the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), arbitrarily and capriciously tried to block it (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). We’ve seen this movie before. NFG, in no mood to screw around with the Cuomo-corrupted DEC, filed a motion asking FERC for a “reconsideration and clarification” on the role of the DEC in reviewing the project (see Gutsy: NFG Asks FERC to Cut NY DEC Out of Pipeline Approval). On Monday, FERC ruled on that request, ruling in NFG’s favor and against NY DEC. FERC said the DEC took longer than the one year they have under law to issue their rejection, therefore, FERC itself is issuing the water permits. In other words, FERC just struck a blow against corruption in New York State…
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Williams to Appeal FERC’s Constitution Pipe Decision to Fed Court

Last Friday MDN brought you the sad news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Williams’ request to rehear an earlier decision to not overrule the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) decision to block the Constitution Pipeline (see FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time). We personally don’t see many (really any) pathways where the Constitution now gets built. But to their credit, Williams is not giving up. After FERC’s decision last week, the company announced it will appeal that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the judges to overrule the DEC (bypassing FERC). Williams has filed in various courts, including the Supreme Court, to hear the Constitution case. Why not try the D.C. Circuit Court? There’s really nothing to lose. The project is currently as dead as a doornail anyway. So, hats off to Williams for giving it one last try…
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FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time

One more thread has broken that holds together hope that Williams’ Constitution Pipeline will ever get built. Perhaps the final thread. Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling denying a rehearing request on the project–the second time they have done so. The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant the pipeline project necessary federal stream crossing permits, blocking construction, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Williams asked the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule DEC and allow construction to begin. In January of this year, FERC denied that request (see Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). In February of this year, Williams asked FERC to reconsider their denial. FERC’s response yesterday: No. Meanwhile, Williams had filed a lawsuit in federal court that eventually was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In April, the Supremes refused to hear the case, shutting down that avenue (see Supreme Court Rejects Constitution Pipe Request to Overrule NY). As we’ve previously written, we now see only two remaining threads of hope–and they are very thin threads at that: (1) NY elects Cuomo’s Republican rival as governor and he reverses course and permits the project (about a snowball’s chance in Hades that Republican Marc Molinaro will win), and (2) President Trump signs an executive order overruling NY. That second thread is about the best chance Constitution now has. And even if Trump were to issue an executive order, we expect NY would go to court to try and stop it, dragging it out for years. As sad as we are to say this, for all intents and purposes, Constitution is dead…
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Federal Judge Tosses NYC Climate Change Lawsuit Against Oil Cos.

New York City, in its attempt to (a) take every last dime out of the pockets of five big oil companies, and (b) shut down all fossil fuel extraction in the future–has struck out. Rather magnificently. In January, New York City’s insane mayor, Bill de Blasio, used city resources to sue five oil companies, blaming them for “climate change”–the hoax that mankind is causing the earth to warm at an apocalyptic rate (see NYC Commits Fossil Fuel Suicide – Sues Big Oil, Ending Investments). The theory behind global warming is that burning fossil fuels (extracted by the five companies) releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere where the CO2 then acts like a canopy over the earth, trapping in heat from the sun, causing the earth to warm. And, as the theory goes, Mom Earth is warming up to such a degree that it will “soon” (any year now) kill plants, animals, mankind–all living things. All sorts of ills are laid at the feet of so-called global warming, now called “climate change,” including earthquakes, major storms, hurricanes, pestilence, racism. No, we’re not exaggerating. EVERYTHING is blamed on global warming. Even the record cold temperatures that we experienced in the northeast last winter are blamed on global warming! Wait–how can that be? How can a canopy effect trapping heat cause COLDER temps? Obviously it can’t, but these people will believe anything. At its root, de Blasio’s move is not *really* about global warming and preserving the planet–it’s about an avowed socialist (de Blasio admits his perverse political leanings) attempting to steal money from those who earn it, in order to redistribute it to people who don’t earn it, people who will keep voting de Blasio into office in response to his political bribery. The gig is up. The judge in the case tossed it out yesterday, saying court is not the place for these kinds of charades…
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Otsego2000 Snobs Appeal FERC Approval of New Market Pipe Project

There’s a small group of rich snobs who have created a mini-swamp in Cooperstown, NY. They go to each other’s wine tasting parties and pretend they’re Important People. Gentry class. Folks with lots of money who want to keep Upstate as their own private playground. You know…keep the poor folks away from your property, unless they’re mowing the lawn or weeding the garden. God forbid people like disgusting farmers should actually make money on drilling or pipelines. These are the type of people behind a group called Otsego2000. They just can’t accept the reality that their will is not being obeyed in blocking a VERY modest upgrade to an existing pipeline that runs through Upstate–called the New Market Project. Dominion’s New Market Project (currently under construction) consists of building two new compressor plants and upgrading another to help flow more abundant, cheap and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania into the northeast (see Dominion Asks FERC for New Compressors in Upstate NY, WV). The project costs $159 million and will provide 112,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of extra natural gas capacity along ~200 miles of existing Dominion pipeline across Upstate. The pipeline runs through the Horseheads, Ithaca, Syracuse and Albany areas. The snobs of Otsego2000 have just sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in federal court to try and stop the project–even though not one of the compressor stations is located in Otsego County! Otsego2000 is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1981 “to protect the environmental, agricultural, scenic, cultural and historic resources of the Otsego Lake region and northern Otsego County.” As near as we can tell, the New Market Project doesn’t impact Otsego County at all. Yet Otsego2000 is fighting the project, with no legal standing to do so. Go figure…
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Rolling Blackouts/Brownouts Coming to Upstate NY? Maybe

In May, MDN brought you a story of how New England was “this close” to rolling blackouts due to an extreme shortage of electricity during a cold snap (see When Neighbors Go Bad: NY Forcing New England into Blackouts). New York is blocking natural gas pipelines that are critically needed to flow gas to New England gas-fired electric plants. New England has a bunch of old 1960s oil-burning plants. It was reactivating those old plants and burning 2 million barrels of oil over a two-week period (belching out all sorts of pollution), that kept the lights on in New England this past winter. But what’s this? New York itself is now in a pickle. National Grid, a local electric utility operating in much of Upstate, is warning customers to “reduce unnecessary electricity usage for the remainder of the week.” Why? The company says that although, “Electricity supply to the area is adequate…heavy demand and high temperatures could potentially challenge regional networks.” Translation: Use less electricity or you may face a rolling blackout/brownout. They don’t use those words, but we do. It sure looks to us like NY (via Andrew Cuomo) is beginning to reap what it’s sown. Stop new pipelines, block new gas-fired electric plant projects, and this is what you get when the temps turn really hot, or really cold…
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Rick Perry Tells Cuomo – You’ll Face “Reckoning” for Blocking NatGas

Yesterday, Dept. of Energy Secretary Rick Perry leveled a warning to Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of other states blocking natural gas pipelines: You will face a “real reckoning” of high energy costs and vulnerabilities (i.e. blackouts) because of your actions. Perry stopped short of saying Washington and the Trump Administration would use Executive Orders to unblock some of the blocked pipeline projects (which is a disappointment). But Perry alluded to that possibility when he said, “We have to have conversation as a country, is that a national security issue that outweighs the political concerns in Albany, N.Y.?” Cuomo should be concerned. We’re holding out hope that Trump will issue an Executive Order for both the Constitution Pipeline and Northern Access Pipeline projects, overruling Cuomo. It’s refreshing to see our side take the fight to the irrational radicals who oppose fossil fuel energy…
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NY Asks FERC to Hassle AIM Pipeline, Restrict Flows

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project is an $876 million expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued their final approval for the project, allowing it to go forward. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project, it finally went online in in 2016. New York’s radical, anti-drilling governor, Andy Cuomo, tried to stop the Algonquin using the flimsy excuse that some of the drilling for the pipeline would happen a half mile from a nuclear power plant–a plant that’s shutting down anyway (see Gov. Cuomo Asks FERC to Halt Algonquin Pipeline Near Nuke Plant). A few weeks after Cuomo requested FERC shut it down, they told him “no”–which was the cue for Big Green groups to file an appeal with the liberal District of Columbia Court of Appeals (see Radical Enviro Groups File Appeal to Stop AIM Pipeline in NY/CT). Didn’t work. New York State’s two radically leftist Democrat Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the Senator nobody knows about and nobody cares about, tried to stop it too (see NY’s 2 Radical Senators Call for Halt in Building Algonquin Pipeline). Didn’t work. Now that the pipeline expansion has been up and running safely for more than a year, you’d think they would give up. Nope. Cuomo previously ordered a “safety analysis” of the project, back in 2016. That report was just released (executive summary embedded below) and four state agencies, all under the executive branch umbrella (i.e., under Cuomo’s thumb), jointly wrote a letter to FERC asking FERC to further hassle the AIM project by restricting flows along it and shutting it down when work to decommission the nearby nuke plant begins…
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SRBC Elects New Officers, NY Becomes Chair on July 1

Perhaps the proposed legislation by PA Rep. Dan Moul (Republican from Gettysburg) to gut not only the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) of its power to regulate groundwater, but also to gut the SRBC (Susquehanna River Basin Commission), is not so far off the mark after all (see PA House Bill to Neuter SRBC, DRBC Makes It to First Base). We always viewed the SRBC as a good steward of water resources within the river basin it governs, preferring to “stay in its lane” and not presume to regulate shale drilling the way the DRBC has (see SRBC Tells Anti-Drillers “We’ll Stay in Our Lane” on Water Study). Apparently each year (or two or three, we’re not sure) the SRBC rotates the positions of Chair and Vice Chair among its four members (US Army Corps of Engineers, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland). Currently the Chair belongs to the Army Corps, but on July 1st it will change to NY. The problem is that NY’s rep on the Commission is Basil Seggos, NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner and an appointee by Andrew Cuomo. Seggos is a hardened, very politically left anti-fossil fueler–a puppet and tool of Cuomo. Will this change in leadership at the SRBC have an impact on how the organization operates?…
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Constitution Pipe Asks FERC for Speedy Rehearing, 2020 Deadline

Seems like a week doesn’t go by that MDN isn’t asked (by someone from Pennsylvania), “Is there any hope of building the Constitution Pipeline through New York?” Our standard response is this: The only way it gets built is (a) NY elects a new governor favorable to the industry–about a 1% chance of that happening, (b) President Trump issues an Executive Order overriding Cuomo’s blockade of Constitution (and other pipeline projects)–maybe a 10% chance of that happening, or (c) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reconsiders a decision to not overrule NY’s move to block the project–maybe a 15% chance. The U.S. Supreme Court in April refused to consider the Constitution Pipeline case, closing that door (see Supreme Court Rejects Constitution Pipe Request to Overrule NY). In January of this year, FERC turned down Constitution’s request to overrule NY (see Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). But then Constitution (i.e. Williams) asked FERC to reconsider their ruling, to “rehear” the case as it’s called, in Feburary (see Constitution Pipe Files for FERC Rehearing, Then Back to Court). In March, FERC gave themselves a little more time to think about rehearing the decision, but since that time, the agency has been silent. Yesterday Williams/Constitution filed a request with FERC asking them to urgently, speedily, quick-like-a-bunny, pretty-please with a cherry on top hurry up and reconsider/rehear their earlier decision, this time hopefully overruling NY. Could it happen? Sure, it could. Will it? Doubtful, but hey, hope springs eternal! Williams/Constitution also filed an official request yesterday with FERC to extend the deadline to build the Constitution project–from this year to 2020. If FERC grants the extension, then maybe there is a glimmer of hope that FERC will change its mind, or that FERC somehow sees a way that Constitution can still get built…
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NY Landowner Who Sued for “Takings” re Frack Ban Loses Fed Case

Is this the sad end to a noble cause? In 2015 MDN told you about an Allegany County, NY attorney/landowner who filed a lawsuit against the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) over their infamous and politically-motivated ban on fracking (see 1st Lawsuit Filed Against NY Cuomo Frack Ban – in Allegany County). The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court in Allegany County. Don’t be fooled by the Supreme Court label. In NY, Supreme Court is one level up from county court. The Supreme Court judge tossed the case saying the attorney/landowner didn’t have standing to file the lawsuit in the first place because he never had a permit to drill on his property. The Appellate Division later upheld the decision. The attorney/landowner then filed the same lawsuit in federal court–bypassing Cuomo-appointed state judges–in federal court last December (see NY Resident (& Lawyer) Sues DEC in Federal Court re Frack Ban). On Monday U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca ruled in that case–against the attorney/landowner, on what amounts to a technicality, saying the case violates the 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects states from being sued for money in a federal court. Is this now the end? Does our intrepid attorney/landowner, have anything else up his legal sleeve?…
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NG Advantage’s Virtual Pipe Comes to the Rescue in Downstate NY

NG Advantage, the pioneer in “virtual pipeline” trucked CNG service, majority-owned by Clean Energy Fuels, tried to build a compressor station/trucking hub in a Binghamton, NY suburb, but that effort failed earlier this year due to local opposition (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline Project Near Binghamton is Dead). We’re sure the entire situation left a sour taste in NG’s mouth. Even so, this past winter NG didn’t turn its back on New York State, much to their credit. National Grid, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world (covering Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and the UK), had a problem in Long Island during the winter months. As temps got super low, National Grid needed more natural gas to meet the spike in demand from customers. NY is pipeline-phobic, so what could National Grid do? They turned to NG Advantage and NG rose to the occasion, trucking CNG (compressed natural gas) from facilities in Massachusetts and Vermont to Long Island, helping supply National Grid customers in the Empire State. Here’s the story of a company that didn’t turn its back on NY…
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