NY DEC Air Monitoring Network Comment Due June 20, 2014 –ENB – Statewide Notices 5/21/2014 – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
May 29, 2014 Leave a comment
Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County
January 16, 2014 Leave a comment
S5166-2013 – NY Senate Open Legislation – Relates to rules and regulations of the state; requires recommendations on repealing unnecessary or otherwise burdensome rules and regulations – New York State Senate.
January 1, 2014 Leave a comment
Unconventional Gas in Poland –
Law, Environment and Society 2013
December 23, 2013 Leave a comment
Link to standards in text
December 18, 2013 Leave a comment
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.
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:
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.
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.
October 17, 2013 Leave a comment
DEC has Quietly Proposed New, Weak Rules for LNG Facilities
Keith Schue and Sandra Steingraber have scrutinized the regulations. They will present their analyses of the weaknesses and provide fodder for your comments to DEC.
Furthermore, the companies don’t have to post bonds to cover the costs of accidents to the environment, people, or property, or to close the facilities when they are no longer of use. This leaves the taxpayers to foot the bill.
Wiki-page by Chip Northrup and Keith Shue, on what comments to make: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/New_York_LNG_regulations The Return of 30 Days: Infrastructure Regs: http://www.thirtydaysoffrackingregs.com/index.php –web page by Sandra Steingraber giving background on a different comment to make each day between now and Nov. 4
September 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Notice of Proposed New 6 NYCRR Part 570, Liquefied Natural Gas – Public Comment Period, Availability of Documents, Public Meetings and Public Hearing
Notice is hereby given that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) is proposing to adopt 6 NYCRR Part 570 to implement a permitting program for the siting, construction, and operation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities in New York State (NYS). LNG facilities are those that either store LNG in a tank system or convert LNG into natural gas through vaporization. The two types of facilities that NYS DEC expects to permit most frequently include facilities to fuel trucks and facilities that store LNG as a backup heating fuel.
Chapter 892 of the Laws of 1976 added Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 23 Title 17, “Liquefied Natural and Petroleum Gas” (the LNG statute). This statute requires NYS DEC to implement regulations with criteria for the safe siting, operation, and transportation of LNG throughout the State. An environmental safety permit must be obtained from NYS DEC prior to construction, operation, or modification of an LNG facility in the State. The LNG statute also directs that operation of LNG facilities must be carried out in conformance with permits and regulations issued by NYS DEC. This rulemaking will establish a program to address the siting, construction, and operation of LNG facilities. Part 570 will also address the transportation of LNG and the statutory requirement that intrastate transportation only occur along approved routes.
The Notice of Proposed Rule Making is available in the September 11, 2013 issue of the State Register. Written public comments will be accepted by NYS DEC until November 4, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Additional details are provided below.
These documents may also be inspected at the following NYS DEC offices (call the noted contact for an appointment):
Public Meetings: NYS DEC will conduct public information meetings to present the proposed regulations and respond to questions prior to the public hearing. These meetings will be held as follows:
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: New York State Fairgrounds
581 State Fair Blvd, Martha Eddy Room
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: NYS DEC – Central Office
625 Broadway, Room 129
Public Hearing: A legislative public hearing to receive public comment about the proposed rule making will be held as follows:
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: NYS DEC – Central Office
625 Broadway, Room 129
This hearing location is accessible to persons with impaired mobility. Interpreter services will be made available to deaf persons, at no charge, upon written request at least five business days prior to the date of the hearing. Please address requests to: Russ Brauksieck, NYS DEC – Division of Environmental Remediation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7020.
NYS DEC invites all persons, organizations, corporations and governmental agencies to attend the hearing and submit either written or oral statements. At the hearing, persons who wish to make a statement will be invited to speak. It is requested that oral statements also be submitted in writing. NYS DEC will give equal weight to written and oral statements. Since a cumulative record will be compiled, it is not required for interested parties to attend the hearing.
Written comments: The public is invited to submit written comments about these proposed regulations until Monday, November 4, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Mail written comments to:
NYS DEC – Division of Environmental Remediation
Albany, NY 12233-7020
Email written comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org and please write “Comments on Proposed Part 570″ in the subject line.
Contact: Russ Brauksieck, NYS DEC – Division of Environmental Remediation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7020, Phone: (518) 402-9553, E-mail: email@example.com.
Data Solicitation for 2014 CWA Section 303(d) List
Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires States to compile periodically (every two years) a list of impaired waters that do not meet water quality standards and where designated uses are not fully supported and where a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan is necessary to address the impairment. States are scheduled to submit their next Section 303(d) Lists to USEPA by April 1, 2014. To support the development of the Section 303(d) Lists, States are also required to assemble and evaluate existing and readily available water quality related data and information. New York State is currently soliciting and accepting water quality data and information that may be useful in compiling the 2014 Section 303(d) List.
Background: The water quality assessment of New York State’s waters is a continuous process. Every year waters in two or three of the 17 drainage basins in the state are scheduled to be reassessed. This rotating basin approach allows for a reassessment of water quality of the entire state every five years. The assessment of these waters is a public process and participation and input from a wide range of state, federal and local agencies and non governmental water quality partners (watershed groups, lake associations, academic researchers, etc.) is encouraged. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) is able to effectively manage the statewide assessment process by focusing the effort on a limited number of specific drainage basins each year. Concentrating on a few basins each year allows NYS DEC to provide ample opportunity for the extensive list of interested groups to provide input and allows for a thorough evaluation of all available data.
However every two years, corresponding to the development of the State’s Section 303(d) List, the public is solicited to provide water quality data and information for any waterbody (any basin). This allows for a more comprehensive updating of the List. Some of the solicited data and information may result in changes to the List; other data, it may be determined, will have no impact on the List, but will be used during the subsequent water quality assessment for the corresponding basin during the reassessment cycle. Some of the data and information received during the solicitation may not be sufficiently conclusive to make a definitive impairment determination and use of this data and information may also be deferred until the more complete assessment of the corresponding basin is conducted.
In order to maintain an effective and comprehensive review of solicited data and information and insure the timely submittal of the List, it is necessary to establish a cut off date for the receipt of water quality data and information. Therefore in order to be included for full consideration in the compiling of the 2014 CWA Section 303(d) List, data and information must be received by September 30, 2013. It is not the intent of this cut off date to exclude additional information. Rather the date is necessary in order to provide adequate time to review data and information, complete water quality assessments, receive and respond to public comment on the assessments, compile a draft Section 303(d) List, public notice the List, and submit a List to USEPA by April 1, 2014.
In order to facilitate the review and inclusion of water quality data and information to be considered in the compiling of the 2014 Section 303(d) List, such submissions should be accompanied by a completed Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List (WI/PWL) Assessment Worksheet. This worksheet allows for the capture of water quality information based on available data, or based on general observation of conditions and/or local knowledge of designated use support/non support of a waterbody absent specific (numeric) monitoring data. Information regarding the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List, including the WI/PWL worksheet and instructions for completing the worksheet, can found on the NYS DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/23846.html. Worksheet information can also be obtained by contacting Jeff Myers at the NYS DEC – Division of Water, Bureau of Watershed Assessment and Management by mail at 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3502, or by phone at: (518) 402-8179. Completed WI/PWL worksheets and supporting water quality monitoring data should sent to the address above, or forwarded via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Water quality data and information should also include a copy of the corresponding Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plan, QA/QC results summary and description of measures used in the collection of the data.
Guidance regarding the use of water quality data and information to conduct assessment and make listing decisions is outlined in the New York State Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology. These methodologies are available for review and NYS DEC will accept public comment on these documents throughout the 2014 Section 303(d) List development process. Additional information regarding Section 303(d) List development, including the Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology can be found on the NYS DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/31290.html.
Additional information regarding the NYS DEC Water Quality Assessment Program, including the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List assessments and Section 305(b) water quality reporting can be found on the NYS DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/23852.html.
Contact: Jeff Myers, NYS DEC – Division of Water, Bureau of Watershed Assessment and Management, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3502, Phone: (518) 402-8179, E-mail: email@example.com.
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|LWVNY August 2013 Comments on Liberty Natural Gas Port Ambrose Deepwater Port License Application-2.doc
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Companies have been lining up to get the green light to sell U.S. natural gas abroad, as abundant shale gas supplies place the country in a position to become a net gas exporter.
So far, Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana is the only project that has received necessary permits from both the Energy Department and FERC to allow natural gas exports. Reuters 11/13/12
Price of natural gas determined by supply per country not by a cartel such as in OPEC with oil; price is going up; as it goes up, decline in its use for electric power generation. Local supply and demand determines local prices. MAS
1. USEIA 5/7/2013 short term projections
“The very warm winter of 2011-12 contributed to the very high inventory at the start of last year’s summer injection season (between the end of March and the end of October). Consequently, the forecast 2,113-Bcf build in working gas inventories during this summer’s injection season is significantly higher than the 1,453 Bcf added last year and in line with longer historical experience. Higher natural gas prices this year contribute to lower natural gas consumption for electricity generation and the higher storage build.”
Prices continued to rise in April as lingering cold in the Midwest kept market tight
The projected year-over-year increases in natural gas prices contribute to declines in natural gas used for electric power generation from 25.0 Bcf/d in 2012 to 22.8 Bcf/d in 2013 and 22.2 Bcf/d in 2014.
U.S. Natural Gas Production and Imports
Natural gas marketed production is projected to increase from 69.2 Bcf/d in 2012 to 69.9 Bcf/d in 2013, and 70.1 Bcf/d in 2014. Onshore production increases over the forecast period, while federal Gulf of Mexico production declines. Natural gas pipeline gross imports, which have declined over the past five years, are projected to remain near their 2012 level over the forecast period. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports are expected to remain at minimal levels of less than 0.5 Bcf/d in both 2013 and 2014. (which is ½ of what it was in 2011 ma.)
The tides turned for U.S. LNG import terminal projects after drilling technologies allowed domestic gas producers to unlock vast amounts of the fuel over the last five years, all but canceling the need for gas imports….Total annual LNG imports peaked at 770.8 billion cubic feet (bcf) in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Between January and November 2012, gas imports dwindled to 157.8 bcf, DOE data showed.
Companies that invested in LNG import terminals have been applying to convert them to export facilities as sharply higher domestic production has depressed local prices. Global demand is strong and LNG can at times fetch six times the amount paid in the United States.
http://www.nysenergyplan.com/2002stateenergyplan-documents/sepsection3-5.pdf (natural gas section outdated; 2001 figures)
Port Ambrose Project Description:
“Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supplies will arrive at Port Ambrose via specially designed Shuttle & Regasification Vessels (SRVs). Once the SRV is connected to the submerged buoy system, the LNG will be re-gasified on board and natural gas will be transferred into a new twenty-two mile subsea pipeline that will connect offshore into the existing Transco Lower New York Bay Lateral pipeline serving Long Island and New York City.” www.portambrose.com
League positions from LWV website–
Natural Resources: Energy. Support environmentally sound policies that reduce energy growth rates, emphasize energy conservation and encourage the use of renewable resources.
The League fights to protect the environment and the public’s health. Wise management of natural resources and energy production is critical for our nation’s future.
Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our, or perhaps any, generation. People are dying because of climate change. The League is calling for prompt action to cut this country’s GHG emissions, freeze construction of new coal-fired power plants and invest in a new clean energy economy.
Höegh LNG (Norway) who is partnering with Liberty Natural Gas on Port Ambrose FRLNG (Floating Regasification LNG) vessels reveals: “A base-load liquefaction plant has, to date, never been deployed offshore. However, in the last ten years a number of oil companies and independent services providers such as Höegh LNG have committed substantial investment into conceptual and engineering studies to take the concept towards reality….
Parties looking to progress FLNG developments include both the vertically integrated majors (e.g. Shell) and smaller technology/vessel providers….
|Environmental Policy for Höegh LNG|
| Our culture shall be recognised by a deeply held belief in the necessity of taking responsibility for the environment in which we operate. We will not only comply with environmental regulations, but take a more active approach to utilize the best available proven technology to further reduce our environmental footprint.
Our main environmental challenges are air emission and ballast water (all vessels) and sustainable recycling of vessels. In order to meet these challenges, we will focus our efforts on these three areas:
We will take a proactive role in contributing to shaping the regulatory landscape together with key regulators in order to secure legislation which is realistic, goal based and with an actual effect on the environment.
Potential terrorist attacks on LNG tankers in U.S. waters have been a key concern of policy makers in ports with LNG facilities because such attacks could
cause catastrophic fires in port and nearby populated areas. The Coast Guard’s FY2006 budget specifically requested funding for “additional boat crews and
screening personnel at key LNG hubs.” 97 To date, no LNG tanker or land-based LNG facility in the world has been attacked by terrorists. However, similar natural gas and oil assets have been favored terror targets internationally. The attack on the Limburg, although an oil tanker, is often cited as an indication of LNG tanker vulnerability. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) specifically included LNG tankers among a list of potential terrorist targets in a security alert late in 2003.98 The DHS also reported that “in early 2001 there was some suspicion of possible associations between stowaways on Algerian flagged LNG tankers arriving in Boston and persons connected with the so-called ‘Millennium Plot’” to bomb targets in the United States. While these suspicions could not be proved, DHS stated that “the risks associated with LNG shipments are real, and they can never be entirely eliminated.” 99 A 2004 report by Sandia National Laboratories concluded that potential terrorist attacks on LNG tankers, could be considered “credible and possible.” 100 The Sandia report identified LNG tankers as vulnerable to ramming, pre-placed explosives, insider takeover, hijacking, or external terrorist actions (such as a Limburg-type, missile or airplane attack). 101 Former Bush Administration counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke has asserted that terrorists have both the desire and capability to attack LNG shipping with the intention of harming the general population. 102
Safety of LNG
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