Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had waived its right to block the Millennium Pipeline Company’s application to construct a 7.8-mile pipeline that would transport natural gas to a natural gas power plant in Wawayanda, NY.

The pipeline project, named the Valley Lateral Project, will involve the installation of approximately 7.8 miles of 16-inch lateral pipeline between Millennium’s mainline in Orange County, New York, and the CPV Valley Energy Center in Wawayanda, Orange County, New York. The pipeline would be able to transport approximately 130 MMcf per day to the CPV Valley Energy Center.

The New York DEC attempted to stop construction of the pipeline by denying Millennium a water quality certification. The DEC used Section 401 of the Clean Water Act—which says that states have the authority to reject a permit if after a 401 process, it is determined that the project will be detrimental to the safety of the state’s waterways.

DEC had said, “After a comprehensive technical and legal review, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has conditionally denied water quality permits for Millennium’s proposed Valley Lateral pipeline project. The conditional denial is based in part on the inadequacy of the environmental review conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which failed to account for downstream greenhouse gas emissions.

“DEC subjects all applications for environmental permits to an extensive and transparent review process that encourages public input at every step‎, and DEC’s determination included consideration of nearly 6,000 public comments. DEC will continue to thoroughly evaluate all applications to ensure they do not adversely impact the environment.”

Too late to file the 401

The appeals court ruled that the DEC forfeited its authority by not acting on the application within one year of receipt, and rejected the argument that the one-year statutory deadline begins when a state agency deems the application complete, rather than when the application is received.

The natural gas pipeline is intended to transport gas for power generation and distribution to Hudson Valley Customers from the CPV Valley Energy Center, a state of the art 680-megawatt, natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle electric generation facility that is currently under construction in Wawayanda, New York.

Developers of the power plant say it will be one of New York’s cleanest natural gas energy facilities when complete. It will be the newest, most efficient conventional generation facility in New York, replacing less efficient generation facilities and nuclear generation that is retiring.

The design incorporates advanced air cooling which reduces water use by approximately 85% compared to traditional facilities. The process water that is used will be “grey water” from Middletown’s Wastewater Treatment Facility, thereby putting a waste product to productive use while providing an additional revenue stream for Wawayanda.

The plant is one of several being built in New York that will help replace the generation that will no longer come from Entergy Inc’s 2,051-MW Indian Point nuclear facility once the two reactors there retire in 2020 and 2021, according to the Pipeline & Gas Journal.

Millennium is owned by subsidiaries of TransCanada Corp (ticker: TRP), DTE Energy Co (ticker: DTE) and National Grid Plc (ticker: NGG).

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