Natural Gas NOW
FERC has authorized the Constitution Pipeline to begin cutting trees in Pennsylvania. Now, for New York State! Time to get it done.
That didn’t take long. The folks at Williams, late last night, put out a news release announcing the Constitution Pipeline has been cleared by FERC to begin cutting trees in Pennsylvania, notwithstanding the NRDC’s Attorney General making a last minute attempt to stop it in New York as a sop to his high-brow radical friends. There’s a message here for Governor Cuomo, too; that he’d better issue that water quality certification now if he wants any input because this thing is ready for a FERC waiver if he doesn’t finally get off his politically corrupt butt.
Here’s an abbreviated version of the Williams news release:
ALBANY, N.Y. – Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today to proceed with limited tree felling activities along its federally-certificated pipeline right-of-way in Pennsylvania. The authorization is a significant milestone and major step forward for the pipeline designed to transport enough natural gas to serve approximately 3 million U.S. homes.
“We appreciate the FERC’s prompt issuance of a limited “Notice to Proceed” for non-mechanized hand felling of trees in Pennsylvania,” the project sponsors said in a joint statement. “Although the Commission has not yet authorized tree felling in New York, we are optimistic that authorization will come in order for the project to meet its 2016 in-service commitment while complying with the environmental conditions of the FERC Order and the USFWS Biological Opinion.”
Approximately one-quarter of the trees planned to be felled are located with Pennsylvania, while the remaining trees are located in New York. Constitution Pipeline plans to begin limited tree felling activities in Pennsylvania as soon as its contractors and crews can be trained and deployed, finishing before March 31 to avoid adverse impacts to migratory birds and the Northern long-eared bat. These activities will be subject to third party environmental monitoring. In coordination with state and federal agencies, Constitution Pipeline has agreed to voluntarily provide $8.6 million in conservation funding for the restoration and preservation of migratory bird habitats as a conservation measure.
Assuming timely receipt of all remaining permits, in addition to a full “Notice to Proceed” from FERC, Constitution Pipeline anticipates beginning mainline construction in the spring of 2016 in order to help meet growing natural gas demand in New York and New England during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Last week, landowners, business leaders, labor union members and community leaders, rallied in support of the pipeline project, highlighting the economic benefits the pipeline will deliver to New York. Construction of the project is estimated to directly and indirectly support 2,400 jobs and generate $130 million in labor income for the region. Once operational, the pipeline’s economic impact is anticipated to result in more than $13 million in local tax revenue and more than $600,000 in new income in the region.
In addition to serving markets in New England and New York City, Constitution Pipeline and Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC have announced plans to install four delivery taps along Constitution’s proposed route to facilitate local natural gas service to homes and businesses in southern New York and northern Pennsylvania.
The Constitution Pipeline project involves the construction and operation of approximately 125 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline from natural gas supply areas in northeast Pennsylvania and connecting with existing transmission pipelines in Schoharie County, N.Y. Once complete, the pipeline will immediately become a key piece of natural gas pipeline infrastructure in the Northeast, creating an important connection between consumers and reliable supplies of clean, affordable natural gas. Constitution will help address pipeline infrastructure issues that have exposed New England and New York consumers to periods of high natural gas prices and, significantly higher electric-generation costs. Constitution will also provide opportunities to improve regional air quality by using cleaner-burning natural gas in lieu of other fuels.
The speed with which this decision came speaks volumes. Now, let’s hope they do the same for New York and give a back of the hand to Schneiderman and Cuomo!