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For Release: Friday, May 15, 2020

DEC Statement on Denial of the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Project

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced its denial of the required Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project. The full decision is outlined in a letter (PDF) by Daniel Whitehead, Director, Division of Environmental Permits, DEC.

DEC has determined construction of the NESE pipeline project would not meet New York State's rigorous water quality standards. Construction of the proposed project would result in significant water quality impacts resulting from the re-suspension of sediments and other contaminants, including mercury and copper, and would disturb sensitive habitats, including shellfish beds and other bottom-dwelling marine life, clearly demonstrating that a default mixing zone is not appropriate for this project. New York is not prepared to sacrifice the State's water quality for a project that is not only environmentally harmful but also unnecessary to meet New York's energy needs.

NESE proposed to provide 400,000 dekatherms per day of incremental natural gas capacity to National Grid; however, National Grid issued a Natural Gas Long-Term Capacity Supplemental Report for Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island (PDF) on May 8 that identified additional options that would meet the projected gap between demand and supply of natural gas without the installation of NESE project.

DEC conducted a comprehensive review of the NESE application and supporting materials, as well as the more than 16,000 public comments received on the application, before reaching this decision. DEC subjects all applications for environmental permits to an extensive and transparent review process that encourages public input at every step‎.

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