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Circuit Court rejects Constitution Pipeline, again

constitution pipelineYesterday marked a big legal victory for New York’s environment. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Constitution Pipeline’s motion for a rehearing, upholding the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denial of a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

The pipeline project involved construction of approximately 124 miles of natural gas piping in northeastern Pennsylvania, proceeding into New York State through Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie Counties. It would have carried fracked natural gas across 251 waterbodies — including 89 trout spawning streams — and through many unique and sensitive ecological areas such as old-growth forest and undisturbed springs, which provide vital habitat and are key to the local ecosystems.

In April 2016, the DEC denied certification for the proposed pipeline, noting that the application failed to provide the necessary information for New York State to confirm that the project would comply with water quality standards. In May 2016, Constitution Pipeline, Co. sued to overturn the DEC’s decision to deny certification. Last year, the Court’s three judge panel dismissed the legal challenge. Represented by Earthjustice, Riverkeeper intervened in the lawsuit in support of DEC’s denial.

We’re pleased that the Court has again upheld the DEC’s decisive action against this destructive pipeline project, which would have been bad news for New York waters and communities, and the court’s decision will help ensure that the Hudson River and Schoharie Creek will be protected. It’s time for us to ramp down on fossil fuel infrastructure, not build more of it. The rejection of this project is huge step towards achieving our environmental and climate goals.

Constitution Pipeline, Co. has also recently filed a petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, requesting that the agency declare that DEC has waived its right to protect New York State’s water quality from the impacts of the pipeline. Riverkeeper fully supports DEC’s determinations in this matter and, with the help of Earthjustice, will continue to fight this ill-conceived project.

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