N.Y. rejects $1B pipeline over climate, water concerns

E&E News discusses how N.Y. rejects $1B pipeline over climate, water concerns.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey blocked key water permits Friday for a controversial multistate natural gas pipeline, handing climate activists a victory and setting the stage for a standoff with EPA ahead of a rollout on Clean Water Act guidance.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision deals a blow to Williams Cos., which is pushing to build the $1 billion Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project to expand its existing 10,000-mile interstate transmission Transco pipeline system in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Williams has said the project is critical for supplying an additional 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day — enough to serve 2.3 million homes — in time for the 2021 winter heating season.

But the New York DEC said it was denying a required Clean Water Act Section 401 certificate for the project based on regulators’ concerns about water quality surrounding construction.

In a letter to Williams, Daniel Whitehead, director of the DEC’s Division of Environmental Permits, also said emissions tied to the project — and the prolonged use of natural gas — are incompatible with New York’s newly minted climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Under the law, the state must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 85% by 2050.

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