New York waited too long to deny pipeline's water permit, FERC rules

August 7, 2018

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) waived its authority to deny the Northern Access Pipeline Project a crucial water permit because the state agency did not act within a year of receiving the interstate natural gas pipeline sponsors’ application for it.

Sponsors National Fuel Gas Co. and Empire Pipeline Inc. applied for a NYSDEC certification under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act on Mar. 2, 2016, FERC said in its Aug. 6 ruling. NYSDEC denied the application on Apr. 7, 2017, which was more than a year after the state agency received it, a deadline established in CWA Section 401. NYSDEC essentially waived its CWA certification authority when it did this, the ruling said.

The commission reached a similar conclusion nearly a year earlier when it ruled that NYSDEC waived its authority to approve or deny a CWA Section 401 permit for the Millennium gas pipeline’s 7.8-mile Valley Lateral in Orange County, NY, after failing to act within a year (OGJ Online, Sept. 18, 2017)...

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