Thursday, January 8, 2015

Several important DEC hearings coming up. PLEASE READ & Share

NOTE: The location of the Brewster hearing has been changed! Correct info is below.

Short version is here: (Just dates and location)

Yes, thank you Governor Cuomo for this ban.

This took great courage, and after many years of
spending great efforts on this,

We the People feel like you have finally heard us on High-volume Hydro Fracking.
For this, we congratulate you.

You will be remembered as the man who banned Fracking in a Shale State.
New York. You will be remembered as the man who courageously
stood up to the most powerful industry on the planet.

I love this video by Jessica Veccione, which I think beautifully captures
the gratitude we all felt when we heard the news.

New York State is Safe from Fracking! THANK YOU! December 17th 2014

But... we must remind you...

Don't go to sleep, NY.
Don't disband your groups just yet.

many of our communities are fighting many infrastructure projects which are
threatening the health, safety, and well being of our communities, including
waste, pipelines, compressors, CNG, LNG, and storage facilities.

Visit the map and see what's in your neighborhood:
You Are Here, NY!


There are several important DEC hearings coming up in January
affecting two large, proposed, interstate pipeline projects under the
permitting authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),
  • Spectra Energy's "Algonquin AIM Pipeline"
  • and the joint project by Williams Partners / Cabot Oil+Gas blasphemously called the "Constitution Pipeline"

Below please find the hearing locations, project status, and links to
the Legislative Scope of these hearings have been provided to help
you formulate on-topic comments.

Additionally, there is an Issues Conference February 12 in Horseheads
for the LPG storage facility at Seneca Lake.
More info will be forthcoming on this. Mark your calendar now!

I. DEC Hearings on the Constitution Pipeline

Project Status:


After fighting this project since May 2012, we are in the final stages of permitting,
and the start of construction is dangerously close.

However, the applicant (Williams/Cabot) is in  Catch 22: (a paradoxical
dependency loop):

The USACE cannot complete their surveys until condemnation
proceedings are completed, because a large number of landowners have not given
survey access. But now the ground is frozen, so they cannot complete this work. 

But FERC cannot issue their Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity,
which gives them eminent domain power, until these surveys are done.
So they are stuck.

To get around this, FERC, on behalf of industry, has GAMED THE SYSTEM,
by issuing "conditional approval", which the applicant are using this to begin
eminent domain proceedings. But this is legally dubious.

The conditional approval pending the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
Clean Water Act section 404 permit (@ 33 USC § 1345), and several
permits under the NYSDEC's authority, including the
Section 401 Clean Water Act. (@ 33 USC § 1341).

It's all about Water!

LEGISLATIVE SCOPE: (note: all have to do with water)

Article 15 Title 5 Excavation & Fill in Navigable Waters
Article 24 Freshwater Wetlands
Article 15 Title 5 Stream Disturbance
Section 401 - Clean Water Act Water Quality Certification
Article 15 Title 15 Water Withdrawal Non-public

DEC Hearings on the Constitution Pipeline
Locations and Dates:


IMO-- The prospects of stopping these projects through administrative means are grim.

Tree clearing is expected to being early February. While I believe we must
engage the regulatory approach to the very end, we must also have a backup

Landowners who want the best deal during Eminent Domain proceedings,
contact the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities.

email: or contact Stop the Pipeline.
These groups can assist you finding an attorney to help.

LANDOWNERS and others wanting to
to stop tree clearing and construction of the UN-constitutional Pipeline,
please call Alex Lotorto @ 570-281-2215 or contact me (Bill Huston).

II. DEC Hearings on the Algonquin AIM pipeline

Public hearing on water and air permits for the expansions of the huge Southeast
and Stony Point compressor stations
Project status:
More info:
Article 24 Freshwater Wetlands
Part 401 Water Quality Certification
Article 15 Title 5 Stream Disturbance
Air Title V - Southeast Compressor Station
Air Title V - Stony Point Compressor Station

DEC Hearings on the Spectra / Algonquin AIM project:
Location and dates:

III. DEC Issues Conference on the LPG storage facility at Seneca Lake
More info:

Issues Conference: Pursuant to 6 NYCRR 624.4(b), a pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference will be held on Thursday, February 12, 2015, at 10:00 AM, at the Holiday Inn Express, 2666 Corning Road, Horseheads, New York, 14845. If needed, the Issues Conference will continue on Friday, February 13, 2015.
Watch for a more detailed alert on this coming soon.


Both Algonquin AIM and the Constitution Pipeline are under FERC permitting authority.

As you may know, FERC is considered by many of us to be a Rubber Stamp Machine,a rogue agency which does not follow this nation's laws.

FERC routinely violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by
failing to consider cumulative impacts, and impacts of connected projects.

The public and environmental NGOs have complained about this
in comments on dozens of FERC dockets I have examined.
But these complaints are ignored.

FERC violates the Natural Gas Act by continuing to issuing permits to companies with

...[I]f it is found that the applicant is [not] able and willing [to properly] do the acts
and to perform the service proposed and to conform to [the law],

such application shall be denied." 15 USC §717f(e).

FERC violates the Natural Gas Act by granting permits to companies (like Williams)
who construct jurisdictional facilities (like Williams Central Station in Susquehanna County PA,
and the Dunbar Compressor in Windsor NY) without a Certification of Public Convenience and
. They just look the other way, take their permit fees, and keep issuing more permits.

So we cannot look to the federal government to follow the law.
Therefore, it is up to Governor Cuomo's DEC to enforce the law
and deny these illegal permits.

Another way that FERC is violating the law is by an abuse of NEPA identified by Maya von Rossum, of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, which permits for projects with major environmental impacts under a Fast Track process using a short Environmental Assessment (EA), and not a full, multi-year Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
  • Crestwood Arlington methane storage facility, FERC docket # --CP13-83 "only" 2,194 tons per year in Greenhouse Gas emissions. This is like 22 coal cars of junk going into the air every years. PS: this only includes emissions from the compressor engines, and does not include fugitive emissions, e.g., pipeline blowdowns. -- FONSI: No significant impacts. EA only -- NO EIS.
  • Minisink Compressor -- FERC docket # CP11-515 -- 61,751 tons per year in emissions. This is like a coal train 6 miles long.  FONSI: No significant impacts. EA only -- NO EIS.
  • Hancock Compressor FERC, FERC docket # CP13-14, 70,438 tons per year. A coal train 7 miles long. FONSI: No significant impacts. EA only -- NO EIS.
  • Dominion New Market Project -- CP14-497 -- 200,000 tons per year in emissions. EA only?
    (heading that way). This is like a coal train 20 miles long.
  • Dominion Cove Point LNG -- 2.0 Million tons per year -- FONSI: No significant impacts. EA only -- NO EIS!!!  This is a coal train 200 miles long.
  • Kinder Morgan NED project -- est. 2.5 Million tons per year (will there be an EIS??)
  • ...there are dozens more like this...

Here is one way FERC violates our environmental laws:

And BTW, the courts are rigged in various ways, and not surprisingly, rarely enforce the law to protect people and property from harms.

To quote one of our nation's top attorneys fighting FERC projects, Carolyn Elefant:

"I don't see how any of these cases are winnable".

Leveraging DOH Commissioner's report

and NY's "legally binding prohibition of high volume hydraulic fracturing in the state."

on the health impacts of fracking, saying the risks are too great. "I think it would be reckless to proceed in New York until more authoritative research is done. I asked myself, 'would I let my family live in a community with fracking?' The answer is no. I therefore cannot recommend anyone else's family to live in such a community either."

Dr. Howard Zucker, Acting NYS Commissioner of Health

  • But what about the people of Minisink? ... Where several families are suffering the health impacts
    of Compressor Station built with questionable legal authority
    in a residential neighborhood?

  • What about the people of NE Pennsylvania?

    ...Where people have had their communities fracked
    and water polluted on a mass scale IN PART DUE to
    the YES vote of Governor Cuomo's appointee on the
    Susquehanna River Basin Commission these last 4 years?

    Carol French, at Paradise Rd, (site of water contamination). ​Photo: Les Stone
  • What about all these pipelines, compressor stations, and toxic waste facilities?

    ...which are already harming citizens of NY, and also encouraging fracking in

Bottom Line:

These DEC permit hearings are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to pack the house,
to send a strong message to our Governor that while we do appreciate the ban on HVHF,
and will shower him with gratitude over this bold action to protect our state,

But we are expecting more of the same...  Much more.
Our communities are under attack, an INVASION of FRACKED GAS INFRASTRUCTURE.

Not only is this the WRONG WAY for the climate and the future of planet earth,
these project are causing grave harms to NYers ...TODAY.
My New Year's Resolution is going to be to encourage the cooperative relationship
we are developing with him, and looking for his support of clean, renewable energy.
  • Including, building a local, sustainable NY energy grid built on clean, green, technologies,
  • AND-- his commitment at killing several unpopular, unnecessary, dangerous,
    & environmentally damaging infrastructure projects
    , notably,
    • the Constitution pipeline,
    • the Algonquin AIM project,
    • Port Ambrose LNG,
    • the Dominion New Market Project,
    • CNG / LPG / NGL storage projects at Seneca Lake.
    • ... etc. ...
  • Meaningful relief and remedy to the people of Minisink.
  • AND ALSO-- If Fracking is unsafe for the people of NY, then it is unsafe for the people of PA.
    Therefore, will will expect a NO vote coming for all new water withdrawal permits from his representative on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.
Can I get an AMEN to that?
See you at the DEC hearings!
Bill Huston

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

1 comment:

Aunt Mary said...

Great info sharing bill, thank you!