Constitutoin Pipeline Suffers Another Setback

By Natasha Vaughn
January 12, 2018
Monroe county Sheriff Todd Baxter says the 'person of interest' in this case was found dead in his car in Pennsylvania.

ALBANY -- The Constitution Pipeline project is once again on hold after its petition was denied Thursday by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.

After being denied permits at the state level last year, the Constitution Pipeline had attempted to have the decision overturned on a federal level.

The company trying to build the controversial natural-gas pipeline that would run through the Southern Tier and into the Catskills had filed a petition to build the 124- mile long pipeline.


But FERC ruled against the project late Thursday.

"No corporation should be allowed to endanger our natural resources, and the Constitution Pipeline represented a threat to our water quality and our environment,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement.

“I commend the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for ruling in favor of New York's efforts to prevent this project from moving forward.”

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The company said it will seek to have the case reviewed again by federal regulators.

“We are planning to seek rehearing and, if necessary, appeal of this decision in order to continue to develop this much-needed infrastructure project designed 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," the company said in a statement.

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Last April, the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied the Constitution Pipeline Company a necessary water permit for the project.

The department did not believe the company had provided enough evidence that the pipeline project would meet the state’s water quality standards.

But the pipeline company believed DEC failed to give its decision within a reasonable amount of time and then challenged the state's decision with FERC last October.

FERC said New York had made its decision within a reasonable amount of time -- within one year of the pipeline’s most recent appeal.

The pipeline company had also sued over the state's decision, but that was rejectedlast August by a federal appeals court.

Environmental groups have opposed the project and applauded the latest ruling.

The Constitution Pipeline has been in the works since 2013. It would run from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania and through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Schoharie counties in New York.

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission affirmed what we all know—New York has the right and responsibility to protect our waterways,” Wes Gillingham, director of the New York environmental group, Catskill Mountainkeeper, said in a statement.

Supporters believe the pipeline could have a positive impact on New York.

According to the Constitution Pipeline’s website, the project would create 2,400 construction jobs.

Once built, the company also projects the annual property-tax benefit could be as much as $1.3 million in Chenango County and $2.1 million in Broome County.

"The recent string of extreme cold weather led to natural gas prices spiking to all-time highs throughout New York and New England and shows exactly why projects like the Constitution pipeline are desperately needed," said New Yorkers for Affordable Energy, a business-backed group.

"This project would create jobs and be built by New York’s skilled, highly-trained workforce using the latest technologies aimed at promoting the safety of the environment and workers."

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