Agency responses to Constitution pipeline DEIS

Four agencies have specifically stated the DEIS is deficient, must be revised, and possibly supplemented. (The Army Corps feels the same, but, as a Cooperating Agency, didn’t use those terms.)

All five call for greater studies of alternative routes along existing easements. The specific requests vary by agency.

They all think going through interior / upland forests, and forested wetlands, is madness.

Most have said that the DEIS is incomplete because 24% (30 miles) of the proposed route HAVE NOT BEEN SURVEYED.

— big round of applause for the resisting landowners!

Here are links to the heavy weight agency comments:

Comment of US Environmental Protection Agency under CP13-499.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140409-5120

U.S. Department of the Interior Submits Comments under  Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Constitution Pipeline and Wright Interconnect Projects, Pennsylvania and New York CP13-499 et al.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140408-5035

Comment of Army Corp of Engineers under CP13-499.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140408-5149

Comment of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under CP13-499 et al.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140407-5409

Comment of New York Public Service Commission under CP13-499.
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140407-5001

I’m slowing reading everyone’s comments. It will take some time for me to get through them all.

We’ve really done a remarkable job. Thanks to everyone for your time and financial contributions.
Anne Marie

Seneca in the Balance — Live Stream Archive – YouTube

Seneca in the Balance — Live Stream Archive – YouTube.

The Facts about New York and Fracking Waste | Riverkeeper

The Facts about New York and Fracking Waste | Riverkeeper.

Brine spreading on NY roads

Riverkeeper obtained from NYS DEC records from 2011-2013 documenting brine-spreading on NYS’s roads. FracTracker has now mapped that information.http://maps.fractracker.org/latest/?appid=eb1904df42c848ed967a48c52e873c91
Inline image 1
On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 7:17 PM, Mary Menapace <msmenapace@gmail.com> wrote:

The person I spoke with answered the phone so likely knew not much.
The HEADQUARTERS of env products and svcs are in Syracuse – they are a big outfit.  They have facilities in PA, and from what I was told there are no storage facilities nor transport of PA waste from their outfit from PA to NY – they store it there in PA.  Just opened another facility near Pittsburgh.  the space they have here in syracuse is not large.
warrants more looking into but their facilities in PA are huge so I do not doubt they are not bringing it to store here anyway.  needs a looksee on how they have to report disposal…and where.  likely is coming to NY but I sorta doubt Syracuse.
Mary
On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 6:34 PM, William Huston <williamahuston@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks very much for calling, Mary.

That’s troubling. The person you spoke with either was mis-informed,
… or worse.

I used 2 Fractracker maps to begin my inquiry:
This map shows Syracuse received “Fracing Fluid Waste” = 37.96 BBLs
http://www.fractracker.org/2012/03/where-does-the-waste-from-pas-marcellus-wells-go/

This map makes a connection to the waste facility and particular wells:
http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=8bd41c4a84e446269b8e4b136aa5b633
Wells are: HEPLER D 235 2H, 7H, 3H, 5H

From this I was able to grab the PA Waste data for 2013:
https://www.paoilandgasreporting.state.pa.us/publicreports/Modules/DataExports/DataExports.aspx

And sorted on facility Zip Code.

Sure enough, it’s all there. (see attached).
Each well contributed 9.49 BBLs x4 = 37.96 BBLs.

37.96 BBLs * 43 gal/BBL = ~1632.3 gal.
The big tanker trucks which haul brine are various sizes.
A: 4,600 gal (106 BBLs) This triaxle vaccum trucks are extremely common around Susquehanna County
B: 5,600 gal (130 BBLs) These trucks haul landfil leachate from Waterloo to Endicott
C: 9,300 gal (216 BBLs) Larger trucks, like those that haul gasoline, also Waterloo to Endicott

So, ~38 BBLs is a relatively small amount of fluid,
one of the smaller vacuum trucks ~1/3 full. 
The largest 1,100 gal “water buffalos” in PA are ~26 BBLs.
Still, interesting they didn’t give you the straight story…BH

On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 5:37 PM, Mary Menapace <msmenapace@gmail.com> wrote:
As for Syracuse -
Vermont Env Products and Services headquarters are in Syracuse.  On PA DEP site they are listed as taking “used frack fluid for storage and ultimate disposal.”
I called their HQ here in Syracuse and was told no PA wastes are coming to Syracuse – they have a couple of large ‘storage’ facilities in PA, one east and one west I believe – where they store the “used frack fluid.”  was assured none is coming to  Onondaga county, who  just passed a county wide waste ban.
I asked about definition of used FF – the person did not know – and I asked about radioactivity, keeping workers and equipment safe etc. - and she said that Env. Products and Svcs are not licensed for two types of waste – explosive or radioactive so what they deal with in PA cannot be radioactive “or they would have to tell us.”  yeah.
Response to where “ultimately disposed of”  – vague.  Response to where “Reused?” – to frack.”
So I wrote the company rep on the website and asked about same – composition of used FF, disposal, reuse destinations, radioactivity - never got an answer.  Have not had time to circle back yet.
Mary
On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 12:20 PM, Mike Bernhard <mikebernhard@frontiernet.net> wrote:
Have you asked the woman in New Hartford to check with her highway dept?
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 9:23 PM
Subject: [nygrass] Qs about PA drilling wastes coming into NY
I have 5 specific questions which I hope you can help answer. 
1) Have PA drilling wastes been received at Watertown NY? (landfill or POTW)2) Have PA drilling wastes been received at Auburn NY? (landfill or POTW)

These claims were made here, but I’ve never seen this mentioned anywhere else:
http://www.bluemtpreservation.org/editorspagenew61.html

3) Are PA drilling wastes being being spread on NY roads?

I have heard the above as rumors, however I have found no authoritative source.
This article 
suggests it, but offers no proof. A woman from New Hartford (Oneida Co.)
just contacted me reporting a orange-brown fluid spread on her roads.
Do you have direct knowledge of this? Published source?

Where we know the wastes are going:

The existing research I’ve seen lists the following sites as having accepted
drilling wastes from PA:

  • Chemung Co. Landfill, Lowman (source: Fractracker, etc)
  • C & D Hakes Landfill, Painted Post (souce: Fractracker, etc)
  • Cuylerville desalinization plant (source: Livingston County News)
  • Hyland Landfill, Angelica NY (Mantius, Fractracker)
  • Seneca Meadows Landfill, Waterloo (Fractracker)
  • Allied Landfill, Niagara Falls, NY (Fractracker)
  • EPS of Vermont, Syracuse (Fractracker) 

4) Do you know of other sites directly taking PA drilling wastes? 

Here are places taking PA drilling wastes indirectly, via landfill leachate from direct sources:

  • Huron Campus/EIT (now i3 Electronics), Endicott (from Seneca Meadows, DEC and other sources)

5) Do you know of other INDIRECT sites receiving landfill leachate from direct sources? 

Thanks!

 

Toxics Targeting has archive of DEC approvals for spreading brine on roads:  http://www.toxicstargeting.  com/MarcellusShale/documents/2011/07/21/wastewater-spreading  These were not included in the Riverkeeper FOIA request results.

Feb. 13, 2014: Tom Wilber, Tom West, Chris Denton, Joseph Campbell | Member Supported Public Television, Radio |WCNY

Feb. 13, 2014: Tom Wilber, Tom West, Chris Denton, Joseph Campbell | Member Supported Public Television, Radio |WCNY.

Susan Arbetter discusses the latest fracking and natural gas storage developments in New York  State with Under the Surface author Tom Wilber, attorneys Tom West and Chris Denton, and Gas Free Seneca’s Joseph Campbell.

Feb. 14, 2014: Jon Lentz, Kyle Hughes, Blair Horner, Group home safety, SEQRA | Member Supported Public Television, Radio |WCNY

Feb. 14, 2014: Jon Lentz, Kyle Hughes, Blair Horner, Group home safety, SEQRA | Member Supported Public Television, Radio |WCNY.

DEC’s Public Meeting on Crude & Tar Sand (transport thru Port of Albany)

Urgent! Attend the DEC’s Public Information Meeting on Crude and Tar Sands Oil Transport.
Most New Yorkers are unaware that the Hudson River is already the country’s largest Superfund site. The last thing we need is to be threatened with another toxic spill. Yet New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is throwing caution to the wind by allowing Global Terminal, LP to transport crude oil and possibly tar sand oil via rail and by ship on the Hudson River. 
You are cordially invited to join a working group, including members of Hudson Riverkeeper, NRDC, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Environmental Advocates and PAUSE (People in Albany United for Safe Energy) to Flip the Switch from toxic combustible crude and tar sands oil to truly safe and sustainable energy.
Speak out against the DEC’s outrageous conduct. The DEC is violating our due process rights and ignoring the precautionary principle that is vital to pubic safety. 
More info here:
 1.24.14
Save the date - WednesdayFebruary, 12, 2014 @ 6pm.
Please attend DEC’s public information meeting on Global Terminal’s expansion project. The meeting will be held at Giffen Memorial Elementary School: 274 South Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12202. 
NYS DEC has extended the comment period to April, 2, 2014. Mail or email comments to: 
Karen M. Gaidasz, 1130 N. Westcott Road, Schenectady, NY 12306, or r4dep@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Thanks for taking action on this critical issue.
 

 

TRANSPORT: Environmentalists ‘get real creative’ to combat oil by rail — Monday, January 13, 2014 — www.eenews.net

TRANSPORT: Environmentalists ‘get real creative’ to combat oil by rail — Monday, January 13, 2014 — www.eenews.net.

Orphaned NY Oil and Gas Wells

Orphaned NY Oil and Gas Wells.

by Ron Bishop

Jan, 2012

History of Oil and Gas Well Abandonment in New York Ronald E. Bishop, Ph.D., C.H.O.Chemistry & Biochemistry Department SUNY College at OneontaSustainable Otsego, January 8, 2012Summary:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the

success of New York State’s

regulatoryprogram for the oil and gas industry with respect to post‐production plugging andreclamation. Annual reports from the Division of Mineral Resources, New York StateDepartment of Environmental Conservation over the last twenty‐five years portray an oiland gas industry which has consistently neglected to plug most (89%) of its depleted wells.In this regard, the most recent record has been the worst: Plugging percentage ratesranged from 3.5 to 7.1% t

hroughout the 2000’s.

Further, there is no program, existing or proposed, to periodically monitor and repair plugged and abandoned wells which have begun to leak. Therefore, new plugging and reclamation guidelines presented in the revised draft Supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (rdSGEIS Section 5.17 ) , and proposed new regulations for plugging and abandoning depleted oil and gas wells (

6 NYCRR Section555.5 ) are inadequate. Moreover, they are mere academic exercises: Unless the State of New York State does something to dramatically alter the long‐standing culture of neglect,we can reasonably expect oil and gas industry operators to ignore any new standards just as they systematically ignore existing standards today

Streamlining SEQR

Streamlining SEQR.

http://www.wcny.org/dec-16-2013-e-j-mcmahon-and-ken-pokalsky-mental-health-advocates-sen-jeff-klein-richard-brodsky/

Streamlining SEQR

How to Reform New York’s “Environmental” Planning Law

by: E.J. McMahon and Michael Wright
Complete report in PDF format
December 16, 2013

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Major residential, commercial and industrial developments throughout the country are subject to an array of federal and state laws designed to protect the environment, buttressed nearly everywhere by local land-use regulations addressing the community impacts of such projects.

In New York, however, these regulations are wrapped in the added red tape of the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQR.

In this, as in so many areas of regulatory policy, the Empire State is an outlier. Less than one-third of all states have similarly comprehensive environmental review statutes —and fewer have laws as broadly applicable as New York’s SEQR.

Nearly 40 years after its enactment, can SEQR be reformed to strike a better balance between environmental protection and economic growth? That’s a crucial question when much of New York, especially upstate, is suffering from what could be described as a severe development deficit.

Text Box: SEQR has been cited as adevelopment obstacle by several of the state’s regional economic development councils.While it would be difficult to quantify SEQR’s role in discouraging investment and job creation in New York, the added regulatory imposition certainly does little to expedite the building of new homes, businesses, factories and civic facilities. As currently written and interpreted, SEQR can be exploited to produce costly delays and uncertainty for the kind of job-creating projects New York desperately needs. Several of the state’s regional economic development councils have identified SEQR as an obstacle to development.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has responded to these complaints by allowing his state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to float proposed rule changes designed to improve SEQR in response to years of complaints from private-sector developers. DEC says it is aiming to make the process more efficient and predictable “without sacrificing meaningful environmental review,” but the ideas it is considering don’t go far enough to achieve this goal.

This paper suggests that further changes are needed to truly streamline SEQR. At a minimum, the law should be revised to:

  • Reduce the potential for undue delays by imposing hard deadlines and incentives to ensure the process can be completed within a year.
  • Mandate “scoping” of environmental impacts at the first stage in the SEQR review process, but also more tightly restrict the introduction of new issues by lead agencies later in the process.
  • Eliminate the law’s reference to “community and neighborhood character” as an aspect of the broadly defined environment potentially affected by projects, since the concept already is defined by local planning and zoning laws.

Industry groups have proposed other, more specific changes that also deserve enactment as part of any meaningful SEQR reform process.

1.      ORIGINS AND BACKGROUND

The peak of America’s postwar economic boom in the 1960s coincided with a growing public awareness of the increasingly troubling environmental impacts of untrammelled industrial, commercial and residential development.

The health hazards of air pollution in major metropolitan areas had been highlighted by incidents such as a four-day temperature inversion blamed for dozens of deaths in New York City in 1965. Water pollution was also a serious problem; in the nation’s industrial heartland, portions of the Great Lakes were literally dying— becoming uninhabitable by fish or plant life. Stretches of storied major waterways such as the Hudson River had become seriously polluted. During the same period, perceived assaults on the built environment of neighborhoods and communities had led to a grassroots backlash against major highway expansion projects in some cities.

These concerns led to the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970. NEPA required federal agencies to prepare assessments and impact statements of proposed major projects and policy changes affecting the “human environment,” broadly defined to include both “the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment.”1

NEPA would be the primary model for laws in states including New York, whose State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) was enacted in 1975.

Text Box: SEQR, like the federal law that inspired it, defines “environmental impacts” broadly, going well beyond actions affecting the natural ecology of air, water, flora and fauna.

While NEPA applies only to federal executive branch agencies, SEQR applies to the actions of state and local agencies in New York. In relatively rare cases where the two jurisdictions overlap, the respective reviews can be coordinated, so that the impact statement required by NEPA can be used to fulfill obligations under SEQR.2

It’s important to note that these laws were not designed as government’s primary line of defense against pollution—a purpose served by other statutes and regulations largely adopted after NEPA in the 1970s.3

NEPA’s overarching goals extend well beyond protecting the natural ecology of air, water, plants and animals to encompass the regulation of “aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, or health [impacts], whether direct, indirect, or cumulative.”4 In similarly broad language, SEQR defines environmental factors to also include “noise, resources of agricultural, archeological, historic or aesthetic significance, existing patterns of population concentration, distribution or growth.”5

New York’s law goes a big step further by also regulating potential impacts on “existing community or neighborhood character”—an amorphous concept that, in some cases, has been construed broadly enough to block projects otherwise permissible under existing local land-use ordinances.6

NEPA and SEQR also differ in several other significant respects.

Federal courts have determined that NEPA mandates for federal agencies are “essentially procedural.”7 In other words, the law’s principal effect is to describe the process federal agencies must follow to implement a major new policy or project—but not to shape outcomes consistent with its lofty aims.8

New York’s SEQR, by contrast, can be used to force changes to “mitigate” environmental impacts—not only dictating how a project is built, but effectively deciding whether it gets built at all. Perhaps even more importantly, SEQR requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) if the project “may” cause a significant adverse environmental impact, whereas NEPA effectively requires an EIS only if a proposed action will “significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”9 This further expands the scope of actions covered by the state law. And before a project can win final approval, SEQR requires that adverse environmental impacts be “minimized to the maximum extent practicable.”10

SEQR’s broader scope and its requirement for “maximum extent practicable” mitigation as a condition for potential approval make it more expansive and stringent than its federal counterpart, NEPA; indeed, as will be shown below, it is among the most expansive and stringent laws of its type in any state.

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