- The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has rejected a natural gas pipeline that consumer advocates say would have threatened upstate residents’ health, water quality and communities, citing climate change concerns.
- The 8-mile Valley Lateral Pipeline would move shale gas from the existing Millennium Pipeline to the 680 MW Valley Energy Center in Orange County, N.Y., being developed by Competitive Energy Ventures.
- In its rejection, the DEC said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had failed to take into consideration the environmental and health impacts of the power plant that the pipeline would supply.
A ruling from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last month has given additional ammunition to opponents of pipelines. The court ruled in August that federal regulators should have considered the impacts of climate change when considering whether to approve the Southeast Market Pipelines Project last year.
According to the Times Herald-Record, the New York DEC cited that ruling when it called FERC's review of the Valley Lateral “inadequate and deficient.” A letter from DEC to project backers cited the "lack of a complete environmental review."
A spokesperson for Millennium Pipeline told the newspaper that it is unsure how it will move forward, but "what is clear is that the [DEC] did not deny our water quality certificate based on any environmental impacts we would have on water or wetlands."
Project backers say the power plant and pipeline are needed to help meet the growing energy needs of the region and improve reliability.
The Sierra Club issued a statement hailing New York's denial.
"The water quality impacts of this pipeline should not be considered in isolation," the conservation group said. "Because both the pipeline and the power plant are just components of a project, their environmental impacts should be considered together."