FERC Approves Another Fracked Gas Pipeline

Fracking. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Note: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues to rubberstamp oil and gas projects without regard for the health and safety of the public or the impact on the climate crisis. The Beyond Extreme Energy week of actions from Nov. 1 to 7 will target the FERC in articular and other targets. Click here for more information.

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ALBANY—A pipeline that will bring more of Pennsylvania’s fracked gas to New York cleared another key federal hurdle on Friday.

The Constitution Pipeline will run 124 miles from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania to Schoharie County, which is west of Albany.

The 30-inch pipeline would cross through the gas-rich Southern Tier counties of Broome, Chenango and Delaware, which could be the center of a fracking industry if Gov. Andrew Cuomo were to lift the six-year moratorium.

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released the final environmental impact statement for the project, which found it would cause minimal environmental damage.

“The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the Projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels,” federal regulators said in a statement.

Some of the steps project planners will use to minimize damage include use of special construction methods when it crosses bodies of water, replanting of vegetation and consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to federal regulators. The project will still need final federal approval before construction begins.

Environmentalists and community groups have opposed the pipeline because it will cross wetlands and rivers and creates infrastructure that supports fracking.

The pipeline is a joint venture of Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc. Company officials are planning to start building the pipeline next year and have already moved much of the pipe in to New York. Once operational, it will be capable of shipping 650 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to power about 6 million homes.

The project now needs environmental approval from New York officials. Williams is among the pipeline companies that have spent more than $100,000 lobbying state officials in the first half of this year. The Cuomo administration has a history of delaying decisions on potentially controversial energy projects.

The project involves the construction of new compression capacity at Iroquois’ existing Wright Compressor Station, two meter stations and ten communication towers.