NY Governor and DEC: Deny Spectra Atlantic Bridge Pipeline Permits


Dear Governor Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Seggos, and Michael Higgins of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation,

I am asking you to deny the following permits for Spectra Energy's Atlantic Bridge Pipeline:

Application ID: 3-5599-00078/00001 - Freshwater Wetlands
Application ID: 3-5599-00078/00003 - Part 401 Water Quality Certification
Application ID: 3-5599-00078/00002 - Stream Disturbance

Bullet Points:

• The illegal segmentation of Spectra's expansion does not account for cumulative impacts of the multi-section pipeline to the water.

• This ecologically sensitive area warrants a full Environmental Impact Statement. The Environmental Assessment is incomplete.

• The contractor hired for the Environmental Assessment, NRG, did not fully disclose its work for Spectra on a related project. FERC knew of this conflict of interest.

In full:

Spectra Energy has run a 42-inch, high pressure, fracked gas pipeline under our Hudson River, a mere 105 feet from critical Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant safety facilities. This Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project was installed against the will of New Yorkers, and against Governor Cuomo's own request that construction halt until safety considerations could be addressed. Now, Spectra Energy is trying to complete their plan by building the Atlantic Bridge section of this pipeline, which would connect to the AIM Pipeline and secure a foreign market for their dirty gas in Canada. The Department of Environmental Conservation MUST withhold the 401 water quality certificate for Spectra Energy's Atlantic Bridge Pipeline, the next segment of Spectra's pipeline expansion project.

As you may know, the US Court of Appeals will soon rule whether the false divisions between Spectra's AIM Pipeline, Atlantic Bridge project, and Access Northeast project constitute illegal segmentation. Spectra Energy has attempted to avoid a real analysis of the cumulative impacts of their projects on wetlands and all other bodies of water, including the Hudson River, by treating Spectra's AIM, Atlantic Bridge, and Access Northeast projects as separate. But you need only to look at a map to determine that they are indivisible parts of a single project. Cumulative impacts on wetlands and waterways are more severe than individual impacts taken out of context. The DEC must include the Environmental Impact Statement for AIM in its evaluations of Spectra's Atlantic Bridge impacts on water quality. And, the DEC must wait on the outcome of that case before issuing a water quality certificate for Atlantic Bridge, since a ruling that NEPA was violated in this case would mean all three projects would have to be considered as one.

Spectra Energy has been responsible for countless environmental and public safety disasters. They have shown at every turn that they will risk our homes, our water, and our common climate to advance their own profits. During the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) phase of the AIM Pipeline construction, they lost their drill bit and showed their contempt for our well-being and our laws by illegally dredging a nearby wetland to try to find it, resulting in a disciplinary letter from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They also destroyed wetlands in the ecologically sensitive Blue Mountain reservation during AIM construction. Right now, Spectra Energy is counting on you turning a blind eye to their terrible track record. They are counting on your silence. You have the power to stop them. We need you to send a strong message to the nation about New York's core values: that we still believe in protecting local communities' health, water resources, and livelihoods; that we are still a state that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously; and that we believe in the basic science of climate change and moving away from polluting fossil fuels.

Please instruct your team at the DEC to fulfill its responsibilities and DENY Spectra Energy's applications for a 401 Water Quality Certification, a Freshwater Wetlands Permit, and a Stream Disturbance Permit for the Atlantic Bridge project.


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