Late last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo banned the process of hydraulic fracturing in New York State—but that announcement hasn’t stopped the flow of fracked natural gas into New York from out-of-state sources.
Now, a new 124-mile pipeline, the Constitution Pipeline, is being proposed to ferry natural gas directly from the Marcellus Shale fields in Pennsylvania to New York and, ultimately, other Northeast states.
The project, which will cut through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Schoharie counties, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in December. Now, the project awaits final approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
(FERC reviews applications for the construction and operation of natural gas pipelines, but its environmental review is limited to the lands a pipeline crosses. The DEC must evaluate the wider state environmental issues, including water quality, water withdrawal, wetland preservation, and air quality.)
The permits required for construction to begin include: an Air Title V permit for the proposed compressor station expansion in Wright, a Water Quality Certification, a Protection of Waters permit, a Water Withdrawal permit, and a Freshwater Wetlands permit for state-protected wetlands and adjacent areas for the pipeline installation.
As part of this process, the DEC will host a series of public hearings about the project. They will take place as follows:
Monday, January 12, 2015
East Middle School Auditorium
167 East Frederick Street
Binghamton, NY 13904
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
SUNY Oneonta Lecture Hall IRC #3
108 Ravine Parkway
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
SUNY Cobleskill, Bouck Hall Theater
State Route 7
In addition, comments will also be accepted in writing or email through February 27, 2015. Citizens should submit them to:
Stephen M. Tomasik
DEC – Division of Environmental Permits
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-1750
Previous hearings about the Constitution Pipeline have been well-attended: A FERC hearing in Oneonta last April drew more than 400 people, while a hearing in Richmondville drew more than 300.
Since December 12, 2014, the Constitution Pipeline has filed formal eminent domain proceedings against 55 landowners along the pipeline’s proposed route.