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Constitution Pipeline Deadline Approaches: Time to Get Tough

Marcellus Pipelines - Jim Willis reportsJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


Representatives from the approved Constitution Pipeline met with Cuomo’s top aide to answer questions about the held up project nearing the April deadline.

The Constitution Pipeline is a badly needed natural gas pipeline that would run ~125 miles from the gas fields of Susquehanna County, PA up into New York–all the way to Schoharie County, NY–where it would intersect with the Iroquois Pipeline and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The $683 million project would pump 650 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of PA shale gas to markets throughout the northeast and potentially into New England.

Constitution Pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project in 2014. Pennsylvania cleared the way for the pipeline in 2015. New York is holding it up–the tail wagging the dog–by not issuing stream and swamp crossing permits. We have repeatedly called on Williams, the main sponsor of the project, to take New York to court to strip them of their right to have any say in the matter since Cuomo is intentionally stopping the project for political reasons.

We’re just now hearing that representatives from the Constitution met with a top Cuomo aide in February to answer questions. The clock is ticking and Cuomo is almost out of time. New York has until April 29 to issue the permits or the application made to the state one year ago will expire. Perhaps that will be the triggering event for a massive lawsuit against the state.

In September 2015 MDN editor Jim Willis attended the Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia. Jim listened to a panel discussion of midstream (pipeline) experts, including a former FERC commissioner. He got to ask a question and the question, roughly, was this: “The New York DEC is currently holding up the FERC-approved Constitution Pipeline. What if the DEC refuses to issue the necessary permits? What happens next?” The answer Jim got was, “It depends.”

The bottom line seems to be that if the DEC refuses to grant the permits, Williams will need to request a waiver from FERC and both FERC and Williams may well need to take the DEC to court at the end of the day. The DEC has no legal right to prevent a federally approved project from being built. That’s the bottom line. It may take a court to force the DEC (and Gov. Cuomo) to act, but in this matter the law is on our side. This is not a question of “if,” it is a question of “when” the pipeline will get built.

We’ll go out on a limb here and say that if NY does not grant the stream crossing permits by April 29, very soon after Williams will file a waiver request with FERC and/or a lawsuit against the state to force the issue. There’s no way Williams and Cabot and the other partners in the project are going to walk away from it.

Executives of investors in the Constitution Pipeline have met with a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said pipeline spokesman Christopher Stockton. Stockton said executives met with Bill Mulrow, the secretary to the governor and a former director at asset manager Blackstone, in February to answer questions about the project.

Constitution Pipeline resubmitted its application for a New York water quality certification permit on April 29, 2015. That means the state must take action by April 29, 2016.

Supporters say the pipeline will create jobs, bring in more tax dollars to local governments and supply needed energy to manufacturers and power producers along its route. Environmental groups are concerned about the impacts of the construction process and the long-range implications for climate change of increased fossil fuel use.

Opponents of the pipeline plan to rally in Albany on April 5 to call on Cuomo to reject the pipeline.

constitution pipeline

It would be great if pro-pipeline supporters also showed up on April 5 in Albany to carry signs supporting the Constitution Pipeline.

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6 thoughts on “Constitution Pipeline Deadline Approaches: Time to Get Tough

  1. Here’s how Andrew “The Slimy Worm” Cuomo will play this.. Allow the lawsuit to be filed, go forward. If Williams et al win, so be it – his pseudo-environmental bona fides remain intact.

  2. Here is what I am not getting…what reason at all there might be for the DEC not to issue a permit for this project. It’s not like the DEC can just say “oh we got a letter from Anne Marie garti, Catskill mountainkeeper and Robert Kennedy Jr telling us FERC is a corrupt rogue agency really run by North Korea. No permit for you.”

  3. http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/101519.html

    I think that notice is from last year. At that time “substantial progress” had already been made according to the DEC. Of course the DEC then likely received many form letters from various groups about the permit but still…a year ago progress had been made. So what is the problem or outstanding issue? If you asked me reporters focus notnon getting answers to the right questions for the public but follow conjecture and drama instead.

  4. My guess: DEC and Williams and FERC will go to court. Its a replay of the Fracturing issue where the deck was stacked against drilling. And so when it goes to court, a a judge friendly to the activists and DEC will rule against the pipeline. And it will work its way up thru the various courts and probably settle at the Supreme Court which by that time will be heavily loaded with liberal judges and rule in favor of STATES RIGHTS. Thereby setting a precedent foro the future with pipelines.

  5. It is the delay and deny game all over again.

    Cuomo and his DEC lackeys will delay this as long as possible. Then they’ll deny it knowing full well that doing so is not right or legal. But since when has acting illegally stopped dictator Cuomo from doing what ever the hell he wants to do if it suits his political ambitions? He knows a lawsuit will then wind a slow and tortuous path through the legal system which will play into the delay/deny game plan while adding to Cuomo’s socialist enviro-extremist credibility. And NYS taxpayers will foot the bill for the NYS AG defending the state!

    Meanwhile the case serves as a rallying call that the hidden agenda funders can use to flog their useful idiot environ-“mentalists” into a frenzy, drive donations to the big name enviro-whacko extremist groups, and use the media that they own to spread more misinformation and fear mongering.

    King Cuomo is HOPING this goes to court. He is COUNTING on it!!! His progressive socialist backers are too!!!

    And as already commented with a few leftist, politically indebted judges in the right place the case may be turned on its head to serve as a precedent totally contrary to established law, the US Constitution, and common sense. that of course is just the icing on the cake though.

  6. Pingback: Cuomo the Upstate Job Destroyer Gets Nailed by NY Post

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