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Riverkeeper stands against the Atlantic Bridge Pipeline

The NY Department of Environmental Conservation must deny a key approval necessary for construction of the next phase of the Algonquin Pipeline, the Atlantic Bridge project.

In a letter we sent to the agency last week, we specifically asked the DEC to deny the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Atlantic Bridge pipeline. The applicant cannot demonstrate compliance with state water regulations; a request that is in line with the agency’s recent precedent denying the same type of approval for another gas pipeline — the Constitution Pipeline.

The Water Quality Certification is required for the pipeline to get its federal permitting and to be built.

The Atlantic Bridge pipeline segment will be located in Westchester County where 4 miles of the 6-mile pipeline is proposed to go through Yorktown Heights — trenching across 21 streams and 15 wetlands, and putting at risk the East-of-Hudson New York City drinking-water supply watershed.

The application does not demonstrate compliance with the state’s water quality standards like best usages, turbidity limits, and total maximum daily load limits for phosphorus in the drinking water reservoirs, such that the Water Quality Certification must be denied.

Riverkeeper also raised the applicant’s history of water quality violations and environmental violations in construction of other pipelines. We pointed out that the agency must consider these violations in making its final decision.

Finally, we referred to our earlier comments on the environmental review submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see here and here). We noted that the pipeline will likely result in negative environmental impacts from increased erosion and pollutant runoff from stormwater, trench construction impacts, failure to establish sufficient setbacks from sensitive wetlands and streams, and hydrostatic and trench dewatering. Additionally, cumulative impacts of the Algonquin pipeline — looking at the impacts of all three sections together, instead of illegally segmenting the environmental review — only exacerbates these adverse environmental impacts. For all of these reasons, DEC should deny this necessary approval for the Atlantic Bridge gas pipeline.

Riverkeeper’s full comments are available in our letter to the DEC.