- Sentiment against a proposed $1 billion underwater pipeline that will bring fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania into New York City is gathering steam, according to The Guardian. Energy company Williams Cos.' 37-mile Northeast Supply Enhancement project would expand the 10,000-mile Transcontinential Pipeline into Queens via New Jersey, with 23 miles set to run under New York Bay.
- Environmental advocacy groups, including 350.org, are calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to block construction, claiming that trenching in the bay would circulate toxins such as arsenic, lead and PCBs from the seabed into the water. Opponents also argue that construction on what they characterize as an unnecessary project would create noise and other conditions harmful to aquatic life and point to what they call Williams' poor safety record.
- Proponents of the project, which is expected to be complete in 2020, said the new pipeline will help meet growing demand and that the natural gas it supplies could displace 900,000 barrels of oil a year. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Williams a favorable final Environmental Impact Statement on Jan. 25, but still must approve a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity before construction can begin.
Because pipelines can run through — or under — environmentally sensitive areas, they are perennial targets of environmental groups.
The pushback against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline saw one of the biggest pipeline protests in recent history, with protestors occupying a pipeline-adjacent portion of land on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota for more than a year. The demonstration lost momentum in 2017 when the courts denied opponents of the project a stop-work request.
Some advocacy groups have had better luck when using the court system to delay pipeline projects.
Construction on the $7 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been stalled since December when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit stayed the project’s Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement. The outcome was part of a legal action brought by environmentalists against developer Dominion Energy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission. The permit, already revised once after a previous shutdown of the project, would have allowed Dominion to build the pipeline through the habitats of endangered and threatened species.
In February, the Fourth Circuit refused to reconsider the order, and Dominion has said it will appeal the decision with the U.S. Supreme Court. Dominion is reportedly optimistic about its chances of being able to at least restart partial construction in the third quarter of 2019.