This is an urgent appeal to New Yorkers across the state to work together to call Governor Cuomo and Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos to reject the proposed Constitution Pipeline that would run through the Northwest Catskills and Central New York. The oil and gas industry is putting a lot of pressure on Governor Cuomo and the DEC to approve plans for the proposed Constitution Pipeline before the end of 2015 so that they can cut down over 700,000 trees this winter. Governor Cuomo has been a national leader on energy issues in the past, including banning high-volume hydraulic fracturing and vetoing the Port Ambrose LNG offshore terminal. Now we believe he must be a national leader by stopping this fracked gas pipeline.
We must call on Governor Cuomo to take a cue from President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL and “Keystone the Constitution!”
The Constitution Pipeline poses many of the same risks as the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have locked in tar sands extraction for decades to come and put the climate and communities along the pipeline route at risk. The Constitution Pipeline is specifically being built to increase fracking, which poisons our friends in Pennsylvania, in order to ship this gas to the highest paying markets in Canada and overseas. Increased reliance on fracked gas will exacerbate climate change and the pipeline will put upstate communities and critical environmental areas along the pipeline route at risk.
Cabot Oil & Gas, which would be shipping most of the gas in this proposed pipeline, has publicly stated that they need DEC to approve the application for a “401 water quality certificate” before the end of 2015. We are all concerned that a decision could come down before or during the holiday season. Since FERC has conditionally approved the pipeline, DEC’s rejection of the “401 water quality certificate” is the last chance that we have of stopping this dangerous pipeline from:
- destroying over 1,000 acres of beautiful forests & farms,
- clear cutting over 700,000 trees,
- crossing 277 waterways,
- putting our communities and public safety at risk,
- allowing pipeline corporations to seize land from NY residents through eminent domain.
Governor Cuomo should remember the horrible devastation that three extreme storms did to the region in the past ten years: the first in late June of 2006, and then Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in late August and early September of 2011. A pipeline through the area would create new pathways for the raging rivers that emerge during these storms, threatening more towns at the base of the mountains. The Governor has the power to stop this destruction and New York has the legal grounds to deny this application. The Clean Water Act combines state and federal powers into one law and authorizes states to approve or reject federal projects based on state water quality standards. Connecticut said no to a pipeline ten years ago, and its denial was upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
The corporations behind this pipeline are some of the worst in the industry. Cabot Oil & Gas has over 600 violations in Pennsylvania alone and was responsible for the infamous water contamination in Dimock, PA. The industry lies when it says that gas is needed in New York City and Boston, because the pipes between Albany and these cities are already full of gas. This pipeline is meant to move gas from PA to Canada and overseas – it’s that simple. In fact, the Massachusetts Attorney General just issued a report confirming that New England does not need the gas. The report concludes that the region can meet its energy requirements in other ways. See the report here.
Making matters worse, this pipeline would lead to another. Already, another pipeline company has proposed another pipeline – the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) – to be located about 50 feet away from the proposed Constitution, which would require everything to be torn up again, and another massive strip of land seized and cleared. Both proposed pipelines – the Constitution and the NED – would be crossing the same waterways – and thus the impacts would be intensified. This give DEC even more grounds for rejecting the first one.
Please join us at this critical moment in Albany to call on Governor Cuomo and Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos to deny the water quality certificate and “Keystone the Constitution!”