Today the US Army Corps of Engineers may have dealt the DEATH BLOW to the ill-named “Constitution Pipeline“.
The application, a joint venture between Cabot Oil and Gas and Williams Companies (and 2 other partners) is ON THE MATT and DOWN FOR THE COUNT!
Before we take the boxing metaphor too far, let’s break down what really happened…!
On 10/15/2014, the following Filing was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Washington D.C.:
Filer: US Army Corps of Engineers – New York District
Lead Applicant: Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC
Filing Type: Supplemental/Additional Information
Description: US Army Corps of Engineers – New York District Information requested as a follow-up from a meeting held on September 17, 2014 between the Army Corps of Engineers and Constitution Pipeline Company under CP13-499.
To view the document for this Filing, click here
Here is what they said (Page 4)
Cumulative Impacts are defined as the impact on the environment which results
from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and
reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal)
or person undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts can result from
individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time
(Council of Environmental Quality 40 CFR Chapter V Sec. 1508. 7).
Cumulative impacts must be assessed for projects that can be reasonably
expected to be built in the vicinity of the proposed project, including proposed
Leatherstocking Gas Company tie-ins to the Constitution pipeline and the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Northeast Energy Direct Project if the analysis
provided in the FERC FEIS is not sufficient to meet our cumulative impacts review.
This is really huge, since FERC was directed by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in Delaware Riverkeeper vs. FERC to stop segmenting projects, and the make cumulative impacts analysis.
However, FERC continues to segment projects IN DEFIANCE of the court order!
Here are some connected projects being treated as separate:
- Northeast Energy Direct (PF14-22) , Constitution Pipeline (CP13-499), Wright interconnect (CP13-502)
- FOUR compressors in Dominion New Market project (CP14-497) each being treated as a single source, whereas cumulatively, this is 200,000+ tons per year of emissions, which is DOUBLE the threshold for the EPA “Major Source” Tailoring Rule, requiring full PSD and Title V permitting. FERC is ignoring the law and fast-tracking it!
- Dominion Cove Point LNG export (CP13-113) and Williams-Transco Atlantic Sunrise pipeline (PF14-8).
- Algonquin AIM (CP14-96), Atlantic Bridge, and Access NE.
So while FERC continues to defy the law and the courts, it looks like someone at USACE is taking their duties under the law seriously.
Standby, it ain’t over yet, but this will likely mean a big delay.
Stay tuned for more details…