FERC: New York DEC waived CWA authority in Millennium pipeline filing

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) waived authority to issue or deny a water-quality certification for the Millennium natural gas pipeline’s 7.8-mile Valley Lateral in Orange County, NY, when NYSDEC did not act within the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 401 1-year timeframe, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled on Sept. 15.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) waived authority to issue or deny a water-quality certification for the Millennium natural gas pipeline’s 7.8-mile Valley Lateral in Orange County, NY, when NYSDEC did not act within the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 401 1-year timeframe, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled on Sept. 15.

Groups supporting Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC’s proposed upgrade of the 244-mile intrastate gas pipeline from Independence in Steuben County to Buena Vista in Rockland County immediately applauded FERC’s decision. The 1.3 MMcfd capacity Valley Lateral would connect the mainline to the proposed CPV Energy Center in Wawayanda, NY.

FERC approved construction of the system in June 2007, and the pipeline went into service on Dec. 22, 2008. The lateral and associated compressor and meter and regulation station upgrades, along with a new facility in Sullivan County, are scheduled to go online in fall of next year.

In Washington, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Pres. Donald F. Santa noted that FERC’s decision establishes that statutory deadlines must have meaning during the permitting process for it to achieve the purpose intended by Congress. “This supports that policy goal by ensuring a reasonable process and timeframe for the review and decision making associated with permitting gas pipelines,” he said.

In Houston, Consumer Energy Alliance Pres. David Holt noted that a federal appeals court ruled this summer that FERC has the authority to bypass NYSDEC’s denial of stream-crossing permits for the Valley Lateral. “Ironically, state agencies approved the [gas-fired] power plant the pipeline would serve, but not the pipeline itself, leaving no way to actually deliver the energy to families and business,” he said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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