Intelligence brief: Outrage from left, right over NY pipeline rejection; Con Edison, Crestwood in northeast JV

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New York State has rejected the Constitution Pipeline on water-quality grounds (Image credit: Constitution Pipeline)

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Outrage from left and right over New York pipeline rejection

Industry groups, trade unions, politicians and think tanks have joined a chorus of criticism from left and right over the New York State government’s rejection of the proposed Constitution Pipeline.

Officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied the pipeline a water-quality certification, explaining that the proposal failed to meet New York State’s water-quality standards.

A consortium of Williams Partners, Cabot Oil & Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas and WGL Holdings had proposed construction of a 124-mile pipeline from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems in Schoharie County, New York. The proposed route would have traveled through five New York counties.

In New York State, the project proposed to include new right-of-way construction of approximately 99 miles of new 30-inch diameter pipeline, rather than co-locating within existing rights-of-way, the DEC said. The department said that although it requested significant mitigation measures to limit affecting the state's water bodies, this new right-of-way construction would impact approximately 250 streams across New York State.

Many of those streams are unique and sensitive ecological areas, including trout spawning streams, old-growth forest, and undisturbed springs, which provide vital habitat and are key to the local ecosystems, it said.

Heather Briccetti, president of the Business Council of New York State, accused Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration of allowing “fear-mongering” to lead the way. She said the decision would have “a direct and immediate negative impact” on the state’s economy.

The American Petroleum Institute said the decision would cost the state thousands of jobs. North America’s Building Trades Union and the Laborers’ International Union of North America also warned of economic damage, with the former saying the decision failed to protect the interests of American workers and energy consumers, and the latter saying it undermined progress on clean power and access to affordable energy.

The Empire Center for Public Policy accused Gov. Cuomo of siding with those environmentalists “who seek to block any project involving any use or expanded access to fossil fuels of any kind, at any time, in any place in New York State.”

Consolidated Edison, Crestwood in pipeline, storage joint venture

Consolidated Edison and Crestwood Equity Partners have agreed to form a joint venture to own and develop Crestwood’s existing natural gas pipeline and storage business in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York.

Subject to customary closing conditions and purchase price adjustments, Crestwood said it will contribute its existing natural gas pipeline and storage business to a new entity, Stagecoach Gas Services. A subsidiary of Con Edison Transmission, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, will purchase a 50% equity interest in Stagecoach Gas Services for about $975 million, with an implied market value of almost $2 billion.

Stagecoach Gas Services, which will be managed by Crestwood and operated by a newly formed services company, will own four natural gas storage facilities (Stagecoach, Thomas Corners, Steuben and Seneca Lake) with a combined storage capacity of approximately 41 billion cubic feet and three natural gas pipelines (MARC I, North/South and the East Pipeline) with a combined throughput capacity of 2,960 million cubic feet per day.

Capacity across the system has consistently been contracted at levels near 100% capacity, backed with long-term firm contracts, the companies said.