New York Rejects $1 Billion Pipeline, Company Will Reapply

New York Rejects $1 Billion Pipeline, Company Will Reapply

  • Regulators denied an application for a $1 billion natural gas pipeline that environmentalists said would set back the fight against climate change.
  • Business leaders and energy companies warned that the decision could devastate the state’s economy and bring a gas moratorium to New York City and Long Island.
  • The pipeline was planned to run 37 miles, connecting natural gas fields in Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York. Its operator, the Oklahoma-based Williams Companies, pitched it as a crucial addition to the region’s energy infrastructure, one that would deliver enough fuel to satisfy New York’s booming energy needs and stave off a looming shortage.

Environmental groups said Williams was manufacturing a crisis to justify a project that would rip apart fragile ecosystems, handcuff New York to fossil fuels, and hobble the state’s march toward renewable resources.

In a statement announcing the denial, the conservation department did not refer to the firestorm that had preceded its decision. The department laid out its decision in technical terms, noting that construction would contaminate New York’s waters with mercury and copper.

“Construction of the NESE pipeline project is projected to result in water quality violations and fails to meet New York State’s rigorous water quality standards,” the department said, referring to what is formally called the Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline.

New York regulators noted that they had denied the application “without prejudice,” meaning that the Williams Companies, the pipeline’s operator, could reapply. Company officials said they planned to do just that.

“The Department of Environmental Conservation raised a minor technical issue with our application,” Chris Stockton, a Williams spokesman, said in a statement. “Our team will be evaluating the issue and resubmitting the application quickly.”

Regulators in New Jersey must also decide on the project in June, though the state would not receive any of the gas; officials there said they had not made a decision.

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