New York DEC denies water permit for Northern Access gas pipeline

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will not issue water quality certificates for the proposed Northern Access natural gas pipeline, the state agency reported on Apr. 8. DEC denied the permit because the project would fail to avoid adverse impacts to wetlands, streams, and fish and other wildlife habitat, it said in a letter the day before to sponsors National Fuel Gas Supply Co. and Empire Pipeline Inc.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will not issue water quality certificates for the proposed Northern Access natural gas pipeline, the state agency reported on Apr. 8. DEC denied the permit because the project would fail to avoid adverse impacts to wetlands, streams, and fish and other wildlife habitat, it said in a letter the day before to sponsors National Fuel Gas Supply Co. and Empire Pipeline Inc.

NFGS Chief Executive Ronald J. Tanski said the Williamsville, NY, company was still analyzing DEC’s rationale that constructing the 96.5-mile gas pipeline from Sergeant Township in Pennsylvania to NFGS’s Porterville compressor station near Elma, NY, would impermissibly affect bodies of water and fish and wildlife inhabitants in the Empire State.

DEC reached that conclusion “notwithstanding voluminous detailed studies prepared and submitted by the companies and our consultants that show any such effects are temporary and minor,” Tanski said.

“We are confident that this decision supports our state’s strict water-quality standards that all New Yorkers depend on,” DEC noted. The action came following an in-depth review of the project and following three public hearings and consideration of more than 5,700 comments, it indicated.

Tanski said the Northern Access pipeline’s construction activities “would certainly have less effect than either exploding an entire bridge structure and dropping it into Cattaraugus Creek (Route 219) or developing and continuously operating a massive construction zone in the middle of the Hudson River (Tappan Zee Bridge) for a minimum of 5 years, both [New York] DEC-approved projects.”

DEC previously refused to issue a water quality certificate for the proposed Constitution gas pipeline because it did not meet the state’s water quality standards (OGJ Online, Apr. 25, 2016).

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

More in Pipelines & Transportation