FERC denies bid to revive Constitution gas pipeline through water waiver

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has refused to grant a ruling that would have paved the way for construction of the Constitution Pipeline - a proposed 124 mile natural gas line that would cross Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties in NY state.

In September, FERC overruled New York's denial for Millennium after finding the New York Department of Environmental Conservation waited too long to make a decision and had "waived" its authority on the matter.

In April 2016, the DEC denied Williams application, saying the company failed to provide sufficient information to determine whether the project would comply with the state's water quality standards.

FERC noted the statute "speaks exclusively to a state's action or inaction". The Clean Water Act requires a decision from DEC within a year, and project developers for Constitution say they were forced to withdraw and resubmit their application over the course of nearly three years.

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Given the fights that have unfolded with other pipelines in the state and beyond as environmental opposition groups increasingly target natural gas infrastructure at the state level, the Commissioners expressed their alarm. The company appealed NYSDEC's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, which upheld the state agency's decision to deny the pipeline company's application in August of 2017.

In yesterday's decision, FERC, which oversees the permitting of gas pipelines, maintained that given Constitution's withdrawal and resubmission of its application, New York State acted appropriately because the timeline of review had shifted.

"We are planning to seek rehearing and, if necessary, appeal of this decision in order to continue to develop this much-needed infrastructure project created to bring natural gas to a region of the country that has recently experienced demand resulting in the highest natural gas prices in the world", said Constitution spokesman Christopher Stockton. NY does not allow fracking. The system would run 124 miles, moving natural gas from Pennsylvania into NY. Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc.

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