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Constitution Pipeline could be back


9/11/2019
By Patsy Nicosia

A ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could re-start construction on the long-delayed Constitution Pipeline. The controversial 124-mile long pipeline would bring fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania through the Southern Tier and Schoharie County. It’s been delayed in the courts since 2016 after the Department of Environmental Conservation denied the project a necessary water permit. However in a decision handed down on August 28, FERC regulators ruled that DEC had waived its right to reject the necessary water-quality permit for the pipeline because the agency failed to act in a timely manner—within the one-year timeframe. Project sponsors Williams Partners LP said they’re “evaluating the next steps for advancing the project.” Governor Cuomo, however, said Friday that New York State—which has banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas—will continue its fight against the pipeline. Governor Cuomo called the FERC decision “disrespectful of states’ rights.” “…any way that we can challenge it, we will,” he said. DEC in a statement said it disagrees with FERC’s ruling and is looking into its options for going forward. “DEC will continue to vigorously defend our decision and our authority to protect New York State’s water quality resources,” the agency said in a statement. Activists who rallied against the pipeline in the past have been slow to react to the FERC decision, but one, Elliott Adams of Sharon Springs has been reaching out to opponents to sound the alarm. “We’re under attack again,” Mr. Adams said. “That ugly black snake, the Constitution Pipeline, has raised its ugly head again to attack Schoharie County and New York. “We need to go back to demanding our political representatives stand up for us…We need to talk to our neighbors, friends and family…” Mr. Adams urged those who’ve opposed the project in the past to send donations to Stop the Pipeline, PO Box 48, East Meredith, NY 13757. Checks should be made out to the Jerome Park Conservancy with STP in the memo line. Even with the FERC ruling, Williams would still need a series of permits—including one from the United States Army Corps of Engineers required under the Clean Water Act—for construction to begin. In 2016, DEC rejected Williams’ water-quality permit application, saying the project raised concerns for an estimated 250 streams in the state after it said Williams failed to provide a comprehensive analysis on the environmental impact of the pipeline’s burial. Williams had appealed to FERC after a ruling in the federal courts sided with the state.


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