News > News > Safeguard Drinking Water > Pipelines > Circuit Court halts Constitution Pipeline

Circuit Court halts Constitution Pipeline

For Immediate Release
August 18, 2017

Contact: Cliff Weathers, Communications Director
(845) 445-8257; [email protected]

Three-judge panel backs DEC’s denial of Water Quality Certification

Ossining, NY — The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a legal challenge to DEC’s denial of the controversial Constitution Pipeline, which would have carried fracked natural gas across 251 waterbodies and through the Hudson River Valley. Represented by Earthjustice, Riverkeeper intervened in the lawsuit in support of DEC’s denial.

In April 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed pipeline, noting that the application by Constitution failed to provide the necessary information for New York State to certify that the project would comply with water quality standards. The Constitution pipeline 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. In May 2016, Constitution Pipeline, Co. sued to overturn the decision.

The court, based in Manhattan, said the DEC had the right to reject or approve the water permit. “NYSDEC is responsible for evaluating the environmental impacts of a proposed pipeline on New York waterbodies in light of the State’s water quality standards,” said the three-judge panel.

“We’re pleased that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the DEC’s decisive action against this destructive pipeline project. This project 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,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “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.”

“The Constitution pipeline would have crossed unique and sensitive ecological areas, including 89 trout spawning streams, old-growth forest, and undisturbed springs, which provide vital habitat and are key to the local ecosystems,” continued Gallay.

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