KNOCK US OVER WITH A FEATHER––TWO PIPELINES DOWN! Amazing news on Earth Day that the DEC denied the Water Quality Permit for the Constitution pipeline

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KNOCK US OVER WITH A FEATHER––TWO PIPELINES DOWN! Amazing news on Earth Day that the DEC denied the Water Quality Permit for the Constitution pipeline. Following close on the heels of Kinder-Morgan pulling the plug on their NED pipeline, it's clear that the power of public opinion, and the work of thousands of Northeast activists, is having direct impact on our energy future across the region. Catch all the details on both defeats below––rejoice, take a bow––and then let's redirect all that activism towards the projects that remain. (But seriously, what joyful change is being made!)

A fantastic coalition effort

There are so many to thank for this stellar achievement, and in the end this truly was a result of every anti-fracking organization and local group pulling together to make it happen. But we want to call special attention to the smaller grassroots groups––who are not always the ones quoted in press releases or grabbing headlines––who nonetheless have been at the forefront of this fight, and whose homes, properties and livelihoods are the ones that have been directly on the line. They have been at these fights for YEARS, often without funding, and at great personal cost. We owe them a large debt of gratitude:

Leading the NYS fight against the Constitution project from day one has been Stop the Pipeline, who organized landowners along the route and developed a breakthrough legal strategy. The tiny but scrappy People not Pipelines put together an effective postcard campaign. In Pennsylvania, Energy Justice and others initially held off tree cutters. We must remember that the Holleran maple farm has been forever damaged by William's illegal actions ahead of the DEC announcement. Allied cross-border groups, SNYFGP and NFGM sprung up to fight the NED pipe. Scores of other grassroots groups took part––in NY, MA, RI, NH, ME and PA––many of whom are members of the Northeast Pipeline alliance (logos of the founding members below). And finally, larger groups helpfully lent their legal and media teams to the effort.

We can't wait to update the status of several projects on our YOU ARE HERE map as "defeated!" Now we've all got to jump on the campaigns that are most immediately in need of everyone's help: the AIM pipeline, Seneca Lake Salt Caverns, Pilgrim Pipelines and others.

NEP logos update png

Above, the logos of the founding participants of the Northeast Pipeline Alliance, all of whom contributed greatly to the defeat of the NED and Constitution projects, and continue to work to stop shale gas development. GO GRASSROOTS!

The Constitution gets clobbered!

Although Williams-Cabot had received every other permit and had FERC's conditional approval (no surprise there) they had been blocked from construction within New York State without the 401 Water Quality Permit, which advocates seized on as the key to stopping the project. A long campaign directed at Cuomo and the DEC culminated in a rollicking rally at the capitol on a cold early April day.

The evidence presented, noting the potential damage to hundreds of water bodies, the taking of private property and potential emissions was convincing. The DEC's extensive concerns regarding water crossings, trout spawning areas, erosion and loss of forest resulted in a denial of the permit.

Politico called the denial "perhaps the most significant environmental decision to come out of the Cuomo administration since it banned fracking last year."

The DEC blasted the builders for not supplying information requested earlier, and for not considering a co-location along the Thruway right-of-way or the use of trenchless technology. They also criticized the company for evaluating only 87 of the 251 stream crossings and not supplying sufficient info on blasting techniques. Read the full DEC statement here.

Is the pipeline dead? That remains to be seen; the company has 30 days to request a rehearing, and it could theoretically file a revised route or concede to the DEC's trenching directives. But it seems unlikely the project could be revived quickly enough to make it viable (see below for analysis of market forces). We'll keep you posted on further developments.

Ding Dong, the NED is DEAD!

Astonishing news last week that Kinder-Morgan, who once seemed obliviously determined, has "indefinitely suspended" their NED (Northeast Energy Direct) pipeline, saying the project is "not economic" and implausible due to public resistance and lack of interest from energy buyers.The defeat follows intense grassroots organizing across 5 states, and the Massachusetts Attorney General's report that New England's energy needs will be met just fine with efficiency measures.

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Post Carbon Institute chart showing the Marcellus Shale Play peaking in 2016. Right on schedule, drillers are starting to pull out, and now pipeline projects are stumbling.

Of course, Kinder-Morgan could try to revive the project later, but they may just be better at market analysis than Williams and Spectra, who seem intent on pushing their pipes despite the realities. After all, the likelihood is there simply won't be enough gas to go around: The projected peak for the Marcellus––the last hope of the frackers––has started to kick in (just as predicted, in 2016). Meanwhile, foreign producers are capturing European and Asian markets and can be expected to suppress the price of gas, just as they have with American fracked oil.

Given this, NONE of the proposed pipelines makes any sense, not for investors, not for the climate, not for private citizens––whose land is being taken from them and forever altered––all for pipelines that will have neither product nor end users in the very near future.

WHAT'S NEXT? This is a great success and we're relieved for everyone who would have been impacted. Those who've just had the gun removed from their temples know all too well how their neighbors in surrounding counties and states still feel. As per our YOU ARE HERE map, there are dozens of dirty energy projects in play: The Seneca salt caverns, Pilgrim pipeline, bomb trains, Dominion New Market Project, and more. Our next target for defeat is the AIM pipeline, intersecting as it does with the decaying Indian Point nuke plant and threatening the entire tri-state area.

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