Letter to the Editor: Push the pause button on the Constitution Pipeline

Dear Editor: 

The following letter was sent to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) who is taking comments until February 27, 2015 about giving the Constitution Pipeline Co. a Water Quality Permit. Please see why it should be denied below and help by submitting your own comments. 

Guidance at www.stopthepipeline.org

Cathy McNulty


Stephen M. Tomasik

DEC - Division of Environmental Permits

625 Broadway, 4th Floor

Albany, NY 12233-1750

6 NYCRR 608.8

Application ID: 0-9999-00181/00009 - Water Quality Certification

Application ID: 0-9999-00181/00010 - Freshwater Wetlands

Application ID: 0-9999-00181/00011 - Water Withdrawal

Application ID: 0-9999-00181/00012 - Excavation and Fill in Navigable Waters

Application ID: 0-9999-00181/00013 - Stream Disturbance

Application ID: 4-4350-00008/00012 - Air Title V

Dear Mr. Tomasik:

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." John Muir

Are you going to allow rapacious wolves to sell off our gas reserves, instead of conserving this resource where it is already tapped, and judiciously using it for Americans while reprioritizing fresh water and clean nutrient-rich soil for which there is no alternative?

Pulling one thread, you are connected to everything.

How can you protect the Susquehanna yet increase production of gas in Pennsylvania, thus harming the Susquehanna?

How can you ignore the LNG export ports of Cove Point, Maryland; and the one proposed through Nova Scotia to Canada and abroad; and the two LNG ports in Boston, are they to be changed from import to export also?

If there are red flags about the reliability of this applicant, if there are unanswered questions about how exactly this will increase flooding, if there are unanswered questions about the need for this pipeline domestically, or whether it is really greed and export opportunities you are being asked to be an accessory to, you must ask why prioritizing the repair of aging pipelines in NYC and Boston are not being repaired before new greenfield pipelines are built.  These are areas where you must search your heart.

Like grassroots politics, the headwaters of social change is education, and then people rising up like a wave. We are the single rivulets coming together. We are the headwaters protecting the headwaters. And you can be too, even within your bureaucratic framework, if you draw upon the language specific and ideological.  Like a trip into reinvigorating nature, re-baptize yourself in the language of your mission to protect and defend the whole chain of life beginning with the unseen, underground sources of life.

You may think, as I do, that FERC should have withheld approval of this pipeline until it was clear that none of this gas would be sold on the world market.  This is a commodity, like coal, with health and safety risks, and if those risks are being forced upon unwilling stakeholders, we should understand beforehand who is being harmed and who is being paid.

You may think, as I do, that FERC should reevaluate the routing of this pipeline since the recent decision not to allow HVHP Fracking in NYS.  Routing of this pipeline through the Marcellus and Utica shale areas, over high peaks and down steep slopes favored by gas drilling operations and along investment properties already leased for fracking holds no merit now, and increases the potential risk of explosions and flooding to towns and villages along this route.  But the company’s aims are clear -- they want to pay as little as possible for ROW and have the least oversight.  Your charge is also clear -- to protect a commodity that is priceless.

When the Federal Government holds the big stick of eminent domain over private citizens, it’s inspiring that eighty homeowners are holding out against condemnation procedures going on right now, and they are doing it out the dearly held belief that they have the right to protect their homes. You represent an even larger pool of unwilling stakeholders, the web of plant and animal life and all of their descendants that depend on water -- a huge pool.

You may feel, as I do, that this is land theft, denying privacy rights and property rights. You may think, as I do, that the good of the American people is not synonymous with the aims of this private corporation.

Given your knowledge that Williams has a very poor record of compliance and a very high rate of penalties in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, you know there is real cause for concern. Go back to what is clear, the single rivulets like single individuals, each person, plant and animal dependent upon water and clean soil and air, dependent upon your protection. The turbidity of incomplete documentation, the missing surveys, the lack of necessity for this pipeline at all, and the damage that cannot be mitigated by a company with a history of misdeeds to the environment, make it clear what your answer to this application should be. Please deny this permit. Who among us after doing the research would let these guys fix our kitchen pipes?  And so, we should never let them into nature’s kitchen .

If you are feeling the love of New Yorkers over the Fracking decision, isn’t that the climate, the energized healthy climate you as an individual want to keep experiencing personally and professionally? We, the unwilling stakeholders, ask you to deny this application to build a snake of fire, a flaming hydra through the greenfields of our lives.

The recent decision to press the pause button on HVHP Fracking has been made by the DEC because it threatens the health of New Yorkers.  We need to be ever more cautious. Push the big yellow pause button on this risky project, a desperate attempt to invade our state with more Fracking infrastructure.


Cathy McNulty