NY DEC denies permit for National Fuel’s 97-mile pipeline

By T.J. Pignataro, the Buffalo News
April 8, 2017

The state has rejected National Fuel’s plans for a 97-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas from northwestern Pennsylvania to Elma. The state Department of Environmental Protection determined there was too much threat of environmental damage to water quality and wildlife to allow it to grant National Fuel the water quality certificate it required to construct its proposed 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,” the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced.

The DEC added: “We are confident that this decision supports our state’s strict water quality standards that all New Yorkers depend on.”

Part of the project would have involved developing a compressor station in the town of Pendleton along with some additional pipeline connections in Niagara County. And, a third part of the project would have including upgrading a compressor station in the town of Elma.

In all, the pipeline project would have crossed more than 190 creeks and streams up through Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara counties, according to the specifications.

DEC officials determined National Fuel’s plans didn’t “avoid or adequately mitigate” impacts that could harm water quality and resources associated with it.

“Crossing multiple streams and freshwater wetlands within a watershed or basin, including degrading riparian buffers, causes a negative cumulative effect on water quality to that watershed or basin,” the DEC reasoned in its denial to National Fuel.

It added: “If allowed to proceed, the project would materially interfere with or jeopardize the biological integrity and best usages of affected water bodies and wetlands.”
It’s the second large-scale project designed to transport natural gas from deep-well hydraulicalic fractured wells in Pennsylvania shot down by the DEC in just less than a year.

» Read the DEC’s full Notice of Denial here