FERC is not the only agency involved in infrastructure projects. Right now it’s all about the NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation), which may play a crucial role in whether several projects ever get the necessary permits needed to begin construction:
ALGONQUIN INCREMENTAL MARKET (AIM) PIPELINE EXTENSION
Because this pipeline expansion requires new and enlarged compressor stations, the DEC must first issue air permits. The compressors would be located in Southeast, near the NY/CT border, and in Stony Point, in Rockland County.
Submit written comments to:
Michael T. Higgins, Project Manager,
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
Division of Environmental Permits,
625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-1750,
Phone: (518) 402-9179,
Two pieces of good news:
1) The DEC has extended public comment period until Feb. 27th. This could make it difficult for builders to get construction fully under way before the seasonal prohibition on cutting down trees begins. That could greatly delay landscape damage from the project and hopefully the project will be forestalled before the season opens again next Fall.
2) The Army Corps of Engineers, another agency charged with reviewing the pipeline, is concerned enough about wetland impacts to request additional data from the applicant. The Daily Star reports: “Data being sought by the Army Corps includes updated estimates of impacts to wetlands and a final feasibility analysis of site-specific plans for trenchless crossing operations that could impact wetlands. It also specifically asked for plans that would ‘avoid and minimize impact’ to ‘unique and difficult to replace wetlands.’ ”
SENECA LAKE STORAGE CAVERNS
There are two types of gas storage proposed at Seneca lake: the methane portion is overseen by FERC; the LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas or propane) portion is overseen by the DEC. That part of the project is currently on hold as the DEC studies the plan. A conference is scheduled in February to allow experts on both sides to make their case.
A local judge has already decreed that protestors will no longer have the option of choosing jail time (which was costing the county money) and now requires a stiff fine from all arrested at the blockade. Town officials are going to absurd lengths to prevent a normal democratic process, including locking the public out of judicial proceedings on a sub-zero night, with the excuse of preventing shrubs from becoming trampled.