New York State DEC denies water quality certification for pipeline project

Published on May 20, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied the water quality certification for the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project.

The DEC said that the NESE pipeline project is projected to result in water quality violations and does not meet New York State’s water quality standards. Specifically, the DEC said the project would result in significant water quality impacts from the re-suspension of sediments and other contaminants, including mercury and copper. It would also impact habitats due to the disturbance of shellfish beds and other benthic resources.

The DEC said it received more than 14,000 public comments on the project during its review.

The American Gas Association (AGA), however, took issue with the DEC’s denial.

“Time and time again we are seeing politics overrule pragmatism,” Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, said. “Lack of natural gas infrastructure in the northeast means people are expected to rely on other sources of energy, driving costs and emissions up and denying New York families and businesses, and others across the region, access to the benefits American natural gas can provide. This discussion needs to move away from the abstract and into reality—the reality of what access to responsibly produced and delivered natural gas actually provides: affordable and reliable energy for customers and continued declining emissions.”

AGA said the average residential natural gas customers’ CO2 footprint had been cut in half since 1970 due to energy efficient appliances, consumer conservation, and the impact of utility energy efficiency programs. Also, the increased use of natural gas has led to U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions hitting 25-year lows, according to AGA.

“Public policy at every level should recognize the role that the use of natural gas will continue to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Harbert said. “Maintaining, enhancing and extending natural gas infrastructure is critical to ensuring that we continue to bring the economic, reliability and environmental benefits to Americans in every part of our nation.”