By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 4 -- Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., Fairfax, Va., will file an appeal with the US Department of Commerce before June 10, contesting a move by the New York Department of State (DOS) to block construction of the proposed Millennium pipeline project across the Hudson River, a company spokesman told OGJ.
The New York DOS early last month "again raised concerns about our coastal zone consistency certification," said Karl Brack with Columbia Gas, builder of the proposed Millennium pipeline
The DOS is required by regulation to issue a decision on coastal zone consistency within 6 months after receipt of that information. "Based on our documentation, the agency has missed compliance with this regulation on three separate occasions,' said company officials.
The same week that DOS raised its objection, project officials received a letter from officials at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), indicating that agency was "conceptually satisfied" with the company's blasting plan for the Hudson River, based on recent review of an independent blasting analysis
DEC issued a water quality permit for the project in 1997, and project officials worked through that department to develop what they described as "an innovative crossing procedure that greatly minimizes environmental disturbance."
Moreover, company officials said the final environmental impact statement issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) "includes an extensive review of the proposed crossing plan, including analysis of several alternative routes. FERC staff concluded decisively that Millennium's crossing proposal was appropriate and the best of all available options. In fact, both the FERC and its staff concluded that all potential alternatives were infeasible."
DOS officials want project officials to reconsider three alternative routes that the company said were previously rejected by federal officials.
Company officials claim other data emphasize "the need for additional pipeline infrastructure in the near future to meet growing energy needs both in New York City as well as other regions