Quantcast
Popular
Spectra Energy

Here's How You Can Help Stop the Atlantic Bridge Pipeline

By Kimberly Ong

New York State is poised to make a decision on the Atlantic Bridge Project, a natural gas pipeline that would expand the existing Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline system, a vast 1,100 miles-long pipeline system that traverses New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.


While natural gas pipelines are largely subject to federal approval, there is one tool that states can use to block pipelines that cross their borders—section 401 of the Clean Water Act.

The Atlantic Bridge is a serious threat to water quality, wildlife, trout streams and other habitats, as well as to air quality in the Hudson Valley region of New York. In New York State alone, the pipeline would directly harm 21 streams (three of which are protected trout streams), 11 acres of forests and more than 10 acres of wetlands in the state.

The entire project is sited to be built within the Hudson River watershed and New York City drinking water supply watershed, which provides drinking water to more than eight million residents of the city and surrounding areas. Any impact to water quality from this proposed pipeline has the potential to impair the drinking water supply of millions of New Yorkers.

Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, states have the power to issue or deny certification ("401 certification") to natural gas pipelines that are sited within their borders. If the applicants of the pipeline fail to show that it will meet state water quality standards, states must deny certification to the pipeline and the pipeline can't go forward in that state.

The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) should find that the sponsors of the pipeline, Algonquin Gas Transmission and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, have failed to show that Atlantic Bridge would comply with state water quality standards.

As mentioned earlier, however, the Atlantic Bridge Project is just one segment of the larger Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project, which also includes the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline and the Access Northeast pipeline. DEC must evaluate Atlantic Bridge in the context of these two other related projects—indeed, DEC is mandated by statute to take into account the cumulative impacts of the entire project when evaluating whether the project should get 401 certification.

And the effect of these three projects is greater than the sum of its parts—while the effects of a single pipeline crossing a water body may be reversible, multiple pipeline crossings can have long-term and irreversible impacts on water quality and riparian life.

Altogether, the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project would add more than 165 miles of new natural gas pipeline, cross 349 water bodies, harm more than 300 acres of wetlands and more than 950 acres of forest. It would also cross three drinking water supply systems that supply all of New York City with drinking water. Too much is at risk here to allow this pipeline to go forward.

People's Climate March, Washington, DC, April 29, 2017Kimberly Ong

Gov. Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos have shown exceptional leadership in moving New York State beyond fossil fuels and towards clean energy—in 2015, the state took the courageous and forward-looking step to ban fracking across the entire state. Since then, it has denied 401 certification to two other natural gas pipelines that are smaller than the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project: Constitution pipeline and Northern Access pipeline. NRDC has defended DEC's Constitution decision in court, and is prepared to do the same for Northern Access. The time is ripe to take a stand against the Atlantic Bridge Project, too.

Call Gov. Cuomo and request that he deny the 401 certification for Atlantic Bridge: 518-474-8390

Kimberly Ong is staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, seen here speaking to the press about the Flint water crisis in 2016, will be the highest ranking official to stand trial over the public health disaster. Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Judge Orders Michigan Health Director to Face Trial Over Flint Water Crisis Deaths

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will be the highest ranking official to go to trial so far as a result of an investigation into the Flint water crisis, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Judge David Goggins ruled Monday there was probable cause for Lyon to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder that prosecutors say were due to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that Lyon was aware of a year before he alerted Michigan's governor, Michigan Live reported. Lyons is also charged with misconduct in office.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Coal-fired power plant near Becker, Minnesota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump's 'Dirty Power Plan' Could Cost More Than 1,000 Lives a Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on Tuesday its long-anticipated replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The new coal pollution rules will increase planet-warming carbon pollution and could cost more than a thousand American lives each year, according to the EPA's own estimates.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" today under President Trump's directive. The new plan encourages efficiency improvements at existing coal plants to ensure they operate longer and allows states to weaken, or even eliminate, coal emissions standards. That's a clear difference from former President Obama's plan, which was aimed at phasing out coal and transitioning to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Two workers in protective gear scrape asbestos tile and mastic from a facility at Naval Base Point Loma in California. NAVFAC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Why Asbestos Is Still a Major Public Health Threat in the U.S.

Reports surfaced this month that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had proposed a significant new use rule (SNUR) for asbestos in June, requiring anyone who wanted to start or resume importing or manufacturing the carcinogenic mineral to first receive EPA approval.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Rklfoto / Getty Images

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing

By Justin Goodman and Nathan Herschler

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its "questionable" and "dubious" animal tests. The lawmakers' demand for information on "horrific and inhumane" animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Wikimedia Commons

Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and now the region's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Climate Justice Edmonton

These Giant Portraits Will Stand in the Path of Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Andrea Germanos

To put forth a "hopeful vision for the future" that includes bold climate action, a new installation project is to be erected along the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route to harnesses art's ability to be a force for social change and highlight the fossil fuel project's increased threats to indigenous rights and a safe climate.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Aaron Teasdale

The One Thing Better Than Summer Skiing

By Aaron Teasdale

"There's snow up here, I promise," I assure my son Jonah, as we grunt up a south-facing mountainside in Glacier National Park in July. A mountain goat cocks its head as if to say, "What kind of crazy people hike up bare mountains in ski boots?" He's not the only one to wonder what in the name of Bode Miller we're doing up here with ski gear.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!