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May 30, 2013

DEC puts limits on pipeline construction


Another pipeline opponent, Robert Nied, director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities, said, “We’re glad the DEC stepped up and held the Constitution Pipeline to the standards.” 

He said the DEC filing represents “a very signficant obstacle” for the project.

Backing the pipeline project is a partnership of three publicly traded energy companies — Williams, Cabot Oil and Gas and Piedmont Gas.

Asked if investors will be notified of the DEC concerns, a spokesman for the pipeline project, Christopher Stockton, said his company anticipates that the construction timetable will remain on schedule.

Stockton, in an email to The Daily Star, stated: “Constitution Pipeline continues to be actively engaged with NYDEC and the company is aware of the agency’s preferences related to stream crossings. Constitution Pipeline is committed to continuing our dialogue with the agency to better understand the agency’s concerns, while exploring all options to avoid, minimize and mitigate environmental impacts.”

Stockton added: “Input from agencies like NYDEC is an important part of the FERC pre-filing process. We are optimistic that by continuing to work closely with the NYDEC, ultimately we can develop a mutually acceptable pipeline construction strategy.”

Garti said that with the new DEC filing the pipeline planners have no hope of completing the project in the timetable that they have provided. She called on Williams, Cabot and Piedmont to announce that the pipeline will fail to meet its in service target date.

In the filing with FERC, the DEC lawyer also pointed out that her agency would want a construction technique known as horizontal directional drilling used in boring under streams. 

“NYSDEC does not support the use of open-trenching, regardless of method, as an installation technique for pipelines; wet-trenching in particular is strongly opposed,” Desnoyers wrote.

She also said pipelines should be buried at least 6 feet below a stream bottom. The agency, she added, has jurisdiction of up to 50 feet of stream bank width along protected streams.

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