Another Day, Another Blocked Pipeline into New York
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on May 15th rejected a natural gas pipeline that would have brought supplies into the state via New York City. The Northeast Supply Enhancement Project would have taken the existing Transco pipeline, which begins in Texas and currently ends in New Jersey, and extend it the final 24 miles underwater to serve New York as well. The decision was taken even though evidence of shortages in and around New York City is already emerging and demand is expected to continue growing in the years ahead.
For pipeline developer Williams Partners, it is the second rejected pipeline into New York. The Constitution Pipeline would have carried abundant natural gas from Pennsylvania the relatively short distance to New York, but was also blocked by the state.
Both rejections are based on section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which gives states a role in approving projects crossing state waters. In both cases, the water quality rationale for New York’s action was questionable, and indeed Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has signaled that the real reason for his opposition to natural gas pipelines is his climate advocacy and goal of weaning New York away from fossil fuels.
President Trump has issued an executive order that would restrict state veto authority under section 401 to direct water quality concerns and not unrelated climate concerns.