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Riverkeeper urges FERC to conduct comprehensive environmental review of Atlantic Bridge Project

By Marissa Weiss
On June 10, 2015, Riverkeeper submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) on the Atlantic Bridge Project. FERC is in the beginning stages of the project’s environmental review. The Atlantic Bridge Project is the second planned expansion of the high volume and high capacity Algonquin natural gas pipeline system. It adds to the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project and will connect to the proposed Access Northeast Project. In New York, Atlantic Bridge intends to replace and expand upon approximately 4 miles of the existing Algonquin pipeline system in the New York City Watershed, which supplies drinking water to over 9 million people in the city and Hudson Valley. This significant expansion, from a 26 inch to a 42 inch pipe will also upgrade a metering and regulating station. If constructed as proposed, the Atlantic Bridge pipeline section will affect the sensitive natural lands of the East of Hudson NYC watershed. The proposed project site drains to the New Croton, Amawalk, and Muscoot Reservoirs. Under the Clean Water Act, each of these reservoirs are designated as impaired waterbodies and therefore, subject to limitations called Total Maximum Daily Loads for phosphorus pollution and have additional protection criteria to avoid further water quality impairment.

Riverkeeper urged FERC to thoroughly analyze the project’s potentially significant adverse impacts by undertaking a comprehensive environmental review. While there are numerous potential environmental impacts of the Atlantic Bridge Project, Riverkeeper is chiefly concerned with those impacts affecting water quality. Such impacts include stormwater runoff, disturbance of wetlands and buffer areas, stream crossing methods, degradation of downstream drinking water supply reservoirs, and discharge of hydrostatic test water. All of these impacts require thorough review through and Riverkeeper pointed out that the project requires a full environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Riverkeeper is also greatly concerned about the impacts of the Algonquin Pipeline, in its entirety, and challenged FERC’s segmentation of the pipeline into three “separate” projects. Riverkeeper argued that these three projects, including Atlantic Bridge, should be evaluated together under NEPA because they are connected, are similar actions, and cumulatively impact the area.

Riverkeeper’s scoping comments argued that FERC must address our concerns within a full and comprehensive environmental impact statement. We intend to be an active participant in the entire environmental review process to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our New York City watershed, including its drinking water, are adequately protected. For more information on Riverkeeper’s involvement with both the Atlantic Bridge and AIM projects, please see the links below.

Riverkeeper’s Comments Regarding Scope of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Bridge Project, 6/10/15

Riverkeeper’s prior comments on the AIM Project: 
 
Riverkeeper Comments Regarding Scope of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Algonquin Incremental Market Project, 6/10/15
 
Motion to Intervene of Riverkeeper, Inc.,
 
Riverkeeper Comments on Abbreviated Application of Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
 
Riverkeeper Comments on Algonquin Incremental Market Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Riverkeeper Supplemental Comments on Algonquin Incremental Market Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement
 
Riverkeeper Letter re Call for an Independent Assessment of the Risk to Indian Point Energy Center Associated with the Proposed AIM Gas Transmission Pipeline
 
Riverkeeper Letter re Final Environmental Impact Statement and Order Issuing Certificate and Approving Abandonment for the Algonquin Incremental Market Project
 
Request for Rehearing of Riverkeeper, Inc.

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