Sierra Club Applauds Historic Rejection of Constitution Pipeline

April 22, 2016
Contact: Roger Downs (518) 426-9144
(Albany, NY)  On Friday April 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied the 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed Constitution Pipeline, permanently blocking this 124-mile pipeline from construction. The pipeline was to connect the fracking fields of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania with planned natural gas export infrastructure beginning in Schoharie, NY.  As proposed, the Constitution Pipeline would have carved a 125-foot wide scar along the western slope of the Catskills, plowing through 277 stream crossings, clear-cutting more than 700,000 trees and destroying more than 90 acres of wetlands.  From the beginning of the permitting process DEC officials warned pipeline developers and federal regulators that the Constitution Pipeline, as planned, could severely harm New York's water resources without major changes. Those warnings were ignored.
In response to today’s announcement Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter issued the following statement:
"Governor Cuomo's rejection of the Constitution Pipeline represents a turning of the tide, where states across the nation that have been pressured into accepting harmful gas infrastructure projects by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may now feel emboldened to push back. Cuomo’s leadership could inspire a domino effect of related pipeline rejections as other states begin to put the protection of water and our climate before flawed energy projects that do not serve the public interest."
"The denial of Constitution’s 401 water quality certification was based upon the imperative to protect New York's water resources from wanton pipeline destruction. But the pipeline also represented a tremendous threat to New York's climate change goals and approval of Constitution would have made it difficult to deny other equally bad projects in the queue. We applaud this historic decision by Governor Cuomo, acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and the women and men within the Department of Environmental Conservation that upheld the integrity of the Clean Water Act through their diligent review.”
"This is also a tremendous victory for the thousands of citizen activists and impacted landowners who through four years of sacrifice and grassroots organizing created the political space for this decision to be made. If ever there was an antidote to the broken FERC approval process it is relentless citizen participation and collaboration that holds decision makers accountable."