Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
Millennium Pipeline has asserted its rights with FERC and New York State DEC is screaming like a stuck pig, begging for retention of its supposed authority.
MDN just brought you the exciting news that Millennium Pipeline has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. The agency is politicized and corrupted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, so Millennium has asked FERC to go ahead and issue permission to commence construction of a very small 7.8 mile pipeline that will connect its pipeline to a natural gas-fired power plant now under construction in Orange County, New York.
Now, DEC is screaming and begging for an opportunity to make to still be the decision maker. If any further proof is needed that hardball is the way the game is played in New York, this is it. Millennium knows how to play, because they’ve done business here before.
According to the law as written, if a state (like NY) does not act on a federal Section 401 Water Quality Certification for 12 months, FERC has the right to step back in and issue the certificate. It would totally emasculate the corrupt DEC.
But hold on. The DEC is once again using sleazy political tactics to try and forestall FERC from taking action. On Tuesday the DEC filed a letter with FERC requesting they hold off on granting Millennium permission to build, based on a technicality. Millennium first filed their application with the DEC 19 months ago. But, the DEC says the initial application was “incomplete” and that the completed application, refiled by Millennium, didn’t happen until months later–and if you count the time from the refiled application, the DEC has until August 30th to issue the 401 water permit. And, DEC says they will rule by or on August 30th.
In a somewhat comical typographical error, the final paragraph of the DEC letter to FERC begins this way: “For the above reasons, I respectfully urge the Director of OEP to deny Millennium’s Request, or, alternatively, place the Request in abeyance until August 31, 3017…” Did you catch that? August of “3017.”Freudian slip? We’re sure the DEC would love FERC to delay a decision for another 1,000 years.
Regardless, make no mistake folks, the DEC knows what is on the line. The DEC does not want to lose its seat at the table. Constitutionally, the DEC never had power to approve or not approve federal pipeline projects in place of FERC, which is what they’ve tried to do, illegally. The DEC can, however, heavily influence a project, helping to steer it along a certain path by the way it manages the Water Quality Certification. This is still a lot of power.
If FERC rules in Millennium’s favor, the DEC will be cut out of the process altogether. They are petrified that is exactly what will happen.
Here’s the “please please please don’t issue an order just yet” letter from the DEC to FERC:
Editor’s Note: I’m of a slightly different view than Jim, as I’ve noted here before. I think it’s quite possible Governor Andrew Corruptocrat wants FERC to overrule DEC so he can claim he did everything he could to appease the NRDC gang and like-minded folks and still get the gas. DEC may well be fearful in this case they simply won’t get a chance to say no first. What do you readers think is happening: