The rejection was literally issued after 11 p.m., with National Fuel’s CEO issuing his company’s statement early Monday morning. Ronald J. Tanski said New York State’s highly touted “open for business” proclamation isn’t true.
The DEC determined there was too great a threat to water quality and wildlife to grant National Fuel the water quality certificate required to construct its $500 million Northern Access Pipeline.
“After an in-depth review of the proposed Northern Access Pipeline project and following three public hearings and the consideration of over 5,700 comments, DEC has denied the permit due to the project’s failure to avoid adverse impacts to wetlands, streams and fish and other wildlife habitat,” DEC stated.
“While we are still analyzing the NYS DEC’s rationale, the denial is purportedly based upon NYS DEC’s determination that (National Fuel Gas) Supply and Empire (Pipeline’s) construction activities will impermissibly affect the quality of waters in the state, notwithstanding voluminous detailed studies prepared and submitted by the companies and our consultants that show any such effects are temporary and minor,” said Tanski.
Environmental groups and residents raised concern about threats the pipeline posed to water quality, including its planned crossing of Cattaraugus Creek, which is the sole source drinking water aquifer for residents in a 325-square-mile area.
In all, the pipeline project would have crossed more than 190 creeks and streams in New York’s Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara counties.
Northern Access is the second large-scale project designed to transport natural gas from Marcellus Shale wells in northern Pennsylvania shot down by DEC in a year.
Last April, the DEC denied a water quality permit to the Constitution Pipeline. The pipeline was to run from Northeast Pennsylvania, through the New York counties of Broome, Chenango, Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie. An appeal in the case is pending.