Natural Gas Pipelines, Compressors and Storage Cause Damages and Many Risks

by Duane Nichols on January 31, 2016

Natural Gas Underground Storage is Risky

FERC: Constitution Pipeline can’t cut New York trees yet

From an Article by Joe Mahoney, Daily Star, January 29, 2016

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday rejected the Constitution Pipeline company’s request to take down thousands of trees in New York but allowed it to begin doing so in Pennsylvania, where the firm has secured water-quality permits from that state.

Anne Marie Garti of East Meredith, an organizer for Stop the Pipeline and an environmental lawyer, called the FERC decision a “huge victory” for her group and other opponents of the proposed 124-mile natural gas transmission line.

“The significance of this cannot be overestimated,” Garti said. “This is FERC admitting that the state’s right under the 401 (the water quality permitting authority held by DEC) pre-empts its power.”

Garti said it would have been illegal for the federal regulators to allow the trees to be cut down in New York, where the state Department of Environmental Conservation continues to review the company’s application for water quality permits.

The pipeline firm had a different interpretation of FERC’s decision, with a spokesman, Christopher Stockton, expressing optimism that his company will eventually get the green light to move forward with the tree felling in the New York counties that would be traversed by the project.

“We appreciate the FERC’s prompt issuance of a limited “Notice to Proceed” for non-mechanized hand felling of trees in Pennsylvania,” Stockton said in a written statement. 

He added: “Although the Commission has not yet authorized tree felling in New York, we are optimistic that authorization will come in order for the project to meet its 2016 in-service commitment while complying with the environmental conditions of the FERC Order and the USFWS (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Biological Opinion. This FERC decision allows us to get started on tree felling in Pennsylvania while we wait for the necessary authorizations to begin work in New York.”

The pipeline company has contended that it would have used “non-mechanized” means to fell the trees, avoiding disturbance to the root systems and thus creating no impacts on water quality.

The state attorney general’s office earlier this month urged FERC not to allow the tree cutting in New York because the DEC has yet to decide on the water permit application.

Constitution PIpeline was advised of the FERC decision Friday in a two-page letter from Terry Turpin, director of FERC’s Division of Gas, Environment-Engineering.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advised the pipeline company that its authorization was not required for the tree-clearing work proposed by the company, a consortium of energy firms led by Williams Partners and Cabot Oil and Gas.

The pipeline company has said it has already spent $350 million on the project and has obtained easements to all properties along the route that stretches from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County town of Wright.

The company says the pipeline would carry enough gas to power three million homes.

Working in conjunction with Constitution Pipeline, Leatherstocking Gas Company has plans to run a feeder line from the pipeline to the Amphenol Aerospace plant in Sidney. There would also be feeder lines extending to several communities in Chenango and Delaware counties.

With the pipeline route crossing numerous forests, fields and farms, opponents argue that the project will cause irreversible environmental impacts and drop property values of those parcels that would be traversed by the subterranean gas line.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Terry L Jennings February 1, 2016 at 10:35 pm

What you do to the land you do to us. The animals suffer more. Resources destroyed scary and dangerous for our family friends and me.

Children’s brains don’t mend from long term environmental catastrophes. (Like heavy metals in the drinking water.)

We need to think smarter, safer remedies, and we are all in this world together.


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