DEC Comment: Construction Schedule

The Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline would endanger local communities and the environment, while further locking our state into dependence on fossil fuels at a time when we must be shifting as quickly as possible to 100 percent renewable energy.

When the DEC denied Williams a WQC on May 15, 2019, a reason the DEC gave for the denial was that the construction schedule did not provide any buffers that would keep it from impinging on “time-of-year” restrictions should Williams encounter any delays.  These restrictions ensure that vulnerable species can migrate and spawn without impediment. In New York State the time-of-year restriction runs from January 1 through the end of April.  Construction delays could result from an extreme weather event, equipment failure, an unexpected difficulty with seafloor geology, etc.

In its re-application on May 17, 2019, Williams responded that it had made the construction plan shorter to ensure that it wouldn’t impinge on the migration and spawning of sensitive marine species.  It did so by hiring more construction equipment that would operate simultaneously along the length of the planned route. Williams now says it would complete the offshore portion of the NESE project in seven months, with an extra month available if there are delays.  Yet at the same time, Williams is promising to slow down the dredging process in some areas to address DEC’s concern that toxic contaminants will be released at levels that exceed the state’s water quality standards. In short, the construction schedule is not credibly designed to ensure that the project meets water quality standards.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has decision making power to stop this pipeline. They have very specific, legal criteria that gives them the power to deny Williams’ application, and we’ve made easy-to-access, online prompts that helps you write your letter. We will continue to add a new subjects in the coming days.