Monday, June 17, 2019

New York & New Jersey Reject the NESE Pipeline but Left the Door Open - Williams Reapplied

On Wednesday May 15, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denied an important water quality permit for the controversial Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. Citing the environmental impacts from the project, such as the resuspension of toxic chemicals including copper and mercury, the harm to shellfish populations and other important aquatic species, as well as the climate impact, the NYDEC denied the necessary permit for the 23.4 miles offshore pipeline. While this was an important victory, it is not the end of this project. The denial was made “without prejudice”, allowing the company to reapply for the permit. Williams indicated that they view the denial as a “minor technical issue with [the] application” and on May 17, less than 48 hours after the denial, Williams reapplied. 

On Monday June 10 Williams/Transco resubmitted applications to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for numerous permits required for the construction of the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. The resubmission follows a denial of six permits by the NJDEP on June 5, 2019. Thus, it is clear that the bay, marine life, and the coastal communities of the Bayshore will not be safe as long as the company can reapply.

“The speed in which the company reapplied for permits first in New York and now in New Jersey is an insult. New Jersey’s denial outlined the serious violations of laws and regulations, in particular the lack of need, the impact from toxic contaminated sediments, and the failure to prove that this project is in the public interest.   It is clear that as long as the door is left open they will continue to try and push this pipeline through. The initial denial was not strong enough. We need Governor Murphy and his DEP to follow the law and take decisive permanent action to end this attack on the environment, marine life, and coastal communities once and for all.” said Peter Blair, Policy Attorney for Clean Ocean Action.

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