Victory Against Pipelines, Federal Judge Upholds Constitution Pipeline Denial


A second circuit Appellate Court of appeals judge has upheld New York Governor Cuomo’s decision to reject the Constitution Pipeline. The decision was part of an appeal over the state’s denial of the 401 Water Quality Certification for the natural gas pipeline that would have run from Pennsylvania into New York in April 2017. The Constitution Pipeline would have spanned 125 miles along the western slope of the Catskills and cross 277 streams, destroying more than 90 acres of wetlands. We are happy to see the needs of the environment and communities made a priority over this dirty and dangerous pipeline. We hope that we can see the same victories in New Jersey against the numerous proposed pipelines in our state. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:


“We applaud the federal Court for upholding the Clean Water Act and Governor Cuomo’s denial of the Constitution Pipeline. In a big victory for the environment, this decision has sided with clean water, the environment and against dirty fracking pipelines. This decision shows why the 401 Water Quality Certificate process is so important and why we need to hold DEP accountable. Since the federal Clean Water Act is delegated to states like New York and New Jersey, FERC cannot approve a pipeline without a 401 certificate. That is why the court upholding this denial is an important advance on Garden State Expansion project, PennEast Pipeline, and Transco Northeast Expansion and other pipelines. This decision is important because it shows how this our one leverage point to stop FERC approvals.”


“Unlike other groups who are trying to stop pipelines on the basis of property rights or need, this decision shows the 401 Water Quality Certificate is the real Trump Card. It is clearly the way to actually stop the damaging and destructive pipelines that would threaten our water supply resources in New Jersey. We don’t even believe PennEast should be able to get a 401 permit based on all 255 waterways it crosses including water supply resources. That is why we need to put pressure on DEP and Christie Administration to follow the law and upholds the Clean Water Act. This is our one leverage point to stop FERC because they cannot get around it.”


“Governor Christie should do what Governor Cuomo has done and reject these permits. This decision will set a good precedent for our future battles against these pipelines. This is the second major denial after the denial of the Islander East Pipeline in Connecticut because of the 401 certificate which was also upheld in Court. The DEP could reject Southern Reliability Link and they should. Instead, they have sold us out on the South Jersey Gas pipeline cutting through the ecologically important Pinelands that contain 17 trillion gallons of drinking water in their aquifer. New Jersey needs to do the same thing as New York did, but so far they’ve just been a rubberstamp for these pipelines when it comes to water quality.”


“The DEP needs stand up to FERC to do their job and stop these dangerous and dirty pipelines that threaten our water supply. We need to keep pushing the DEP to reject these 401 Water Quality permit applications for all pipelines because it will stop these damaging projects. We need to stand up and fight like the people of New York did with rallies, protests, and campaigns until the DEP stops these dangerous and damaging pipelines. We will even continue this battle in Court if we have to so we can uphold environmental protections like they have done in New York.”


We applaud the groups in New York who have been fighting this pipeline such as the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Pipeline Safety Coalition, and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.