The gas industry is putting a lot of pressure on Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to approve plans for the proposed Constitution Pipeline before the end of 2015 so they can cut down 700,000 trees this winter.
Instead of doing what the industry wants, Governor Cuomo should follow President Obama’s lead and “Keystone the Constitution!” The 124-mile-long Constitution pipeline poses many of the same risks as the Keystone XL pipeline. Both would contribute to climate change and encourage the extraction of fossil fuels. Both would require the export of fossil fuel in order to be profitable.
New York State has the power to reject the Constitution Pipeline under the federal Clean Water Act, which forbids state water quality standards to be violated. Since the pipeline company is proposing to clear-cut 700,000 trees and trench across 277 streams as it climbs and descends 35 miles of steep slopes, water quality violations are inevitable if this project is approved by the DEC.
Moreover, this fracked-gas pipeline would pass through the northwest Catskills, a region that’s prone to extreme weather events as a result of climate change. The frequency and intensity of these storms have been escalating. In the past ten years, the area was hit by three 100-year storms. If the next storm were to occur during or after construction of the pipeline, the results would be devastating. Without the trees that hold the soil and rocks in place, torrents of rain would wash out the hillsides and flood the valleys with mud and debris. To make sure this does not happen, the DEC must deny the 401 water quality certificate.
Please join us at this critical time and call Governor Cuomo (877-235-6537). The message is simple: “Keystone the Constitution!”