August 31, 2019

 
 
 
 

ZOMBIE PIPELINE ALERT:
Constitution Pipeline gets new chance at life


There's a phenomenon talked about in pipeline fighting circles - Zombie Pipelines. They're projects that were withdrawn from consideration, shelved indefinitely, that were considered done and over with, but then they get a new chance at life. In this case, the Constitution Pipeline was one that pre-dated the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct (NED) proposal by about a year. No Fracked Gas in Mass and other NED fighting groups got some of our earliest tips from the folks at Stop the Pipeline, and Attorney Anne Marie Garti.

In 2016, Constitution was defeated when the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (NY-DEC, similar to Massachusetts' Department of Environmental Protection DEP), denied the 401 Water Quality Certificate (WQC) for the project. This state-issued permit is one of a few that come AFTER  FERC's Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The defeat of Constitution was particularly bittersweet after Williams Co. started the tree clearing in Pennsylvania, including the Holleran Farm sugar maples,  when all of those state's permits were in place, sure that the NY one was just a matter of time. When the NY 401 WQC was denied, the case went to the courts and the state DEP prevailed. 

However, on August 28th, FERC granted a petition for declaratory order in favor of Constitution Pipeline Co., LLC, on voluntary remand from the US Court of Appeals (essentially, FERC requested that the courts allow them to make a determination, and they agreed). In this way, FERC reversed the determination in the Declaratory Order, stating that the NY DEC waived its authority to deny the 401 Water Quality Certificate by issuing the denial too late.

Exactly where this will lead is not yet known, but the possible construction of the Constitution pipeline and all that could mean for our region is looking dangerously close in the rearview mirror.

What can you do?
While we wait to see exactly what's going to happen next, one of the most important things you can do for this and ALL gas pipeline fights - present and future - is comment on the EPA's proposed changes to the 401 Water Quality Certification process.

Put up local resistance - though it won't be likely to influence the Constitution Pipeline fight directly, putting up local opposition to fracked gas expansion helps push back against other projects. It was town-by-town adoption of local fracking bans in New York that helped the state-wide ban pass.

See our new Constitution Pipeline page for more details, initial guidance from Anne Marie Garti and some suggestions for local action from us at No Fracked Gas in Mass.  We will post to this new page as well as our Twitter and Facebook accounts with any and all updates from StopthePipeline.org.


Feds clear way for Constitution Pipeline in
New York over state's objection
by Chad Arnold, Press Connects Albany Bureau / USA Today
Aug. 29, 2019


Federal regulators allowed the Constitution Pipeline to move forward Wednesday, ruling New York took too long to deny a key permit that had been blocking construction of the proposed natural-gas line.

The decision handed down by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found the state Department of Environmental Conservation waived its right to reject the necessary water-quality permit for the pipeline because the state agency failed to act in a timely manner.

» Read the full story
Important DOER Meetings regarding the SMART program

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART)
400 MW Review Straw Proposal Presentations

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will present this material at five separate times and locations. Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) strongly recommends attending if possible.

Listen to the presentation, and consider the following:
• We do not want industrial scale solar fields cutting down our forests or destroying farmland with the money going to big corporations from far away. Distributed generation on large rooftops and parking lots is far more appropriate siting.

• We DO want small, local solar installers strongly supported so they can be hiring lots of local workers to install solar on rooftops and over parking lots. Currently, local installers are cut out of the process.

DOER will present the same material at each of the five meetings. Additionally, the presentation will be available on DOER’s website beginning on September 5, 2019.

» Any questions regarding this proceeding can be directed to DOER.SMART@mass.gov.

Public Comments

Following the public presentations, DOER will be collecting written stakeholder feedback on the 400 MW Review.  Public comments should be submitted electronically to DOER.SMART@mass.gov, with the subject “400 MW Review Public Comments.” Comments should be submitted to DOER by Friday, September 20, 2019.


Meeting Locations and Times:
THURSDAY — SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 — LENOX, MA
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Bernstein Theatre’s Artists Rehearsal Studio
70 Kemble Street
Lenox, MA

THURSDAY — SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 — AMHERST, MA
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
UMass Amherst Campus Center
Amherst Room
1 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA
Parking is located in the Campus Center Parking Garage on level 2

MONDAY — SEPTEMBER 9, 2019 — BOSTON, MA
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
MassART
Tower Auditorium
621 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA

TUESDAY — SEPTEMBER 10, 2019 — FALL RIVER, MA
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Bristol Community College
Room H-210
777 Elsbree Street
Fall River, MA

FRIDAY — SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 — FITCHBURG, MA
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Fitchburg State University
Kent Recital Hall
Fitchburg, MA
Parking is located at the Wallace Civic Center Parking lot. Please take campus shuttle to the Kent Recital Hall.

EVENTS

» With Global Youth Climate Strike and related events coming up, see MANY events on our Events Page
- updated several times a week.

MONDAY — SEPTEMBER 9, 2019 — WILLIAMSBURG, MA
Rep. Jen Benson discusses climate bills
Franklin First District’s state representative, Natalie Blais, has invited Representative Jen Benson to Williamsburg to talk about two climate bills that Rep. Benson has sponsored, a carbon pricing and rebate bill, H.2810, and H.2808, for electric grid modernization.
The carbon pricing bill, H.2810, imposes a fee on the companies  that sell or burn fossil fuels, based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions released when the fuels are  burned. According to a recent report by ClimateXChange on the H.2810’s financial impact, “52.5 percent of the revenue raised by the state government from the fees will be used to provide rebates to households, with the funds shifted toward low and moderate-income residents. For low and moderate-income households, the rebates exceed the expected  costs of the program, leading to net positive monetary benefits.” To read more on how the bill will impact residents of differing incomes, check out this excellent report.

If you plan to go to this presentation, please RSVP so that the space reserved is large enough for everyone who wants to attend.
6:30 pm
Anne T. Dunphy School
1 Petticoat Hill Road
Williamsburg, MA 01096
» Please RSVP here by 9/2



Each week we scour news outlets for articles related to energy, climate, and the transition to a carbon-free economy. We also cover related issues, like plastics and biomass. The Weekly News Check-In blog post is a distillation of the most interesting and useful news uncovered this week – from local to global.

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