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After New York Delays, FERC Extends Millennium's Valley Lateral Construction Deadline

After waiving New York’s authority to issue a water quality certification (WQC) for Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC’s Valley Lateral Project, FERC has granted the company a one-year extension to build and start service on the pipeline.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month found that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) waived its authority by failing to act on the WQC within the one-year timeframe required by Section 401 of the U.S. Clean Water Act. The Commission’s order reversed the DEC’s Aug. 30 denial of the WQC, which came nearly two years after Millennium first filed its application with the agency.

FERC certificated the project in November 2016, requiring that construction be completed and service made available within one year. After the Commission waived New York’s authority, Millennium requested the extension to maintain compliance with last year’s certificate. The company must still file a notice to proceed with construction before it can begin work on the lateral. Spokesperson Michelle Hook said the company is getting close to filing, with “a few I’s to dot and T’s to cross first.”

The Valley Lateral would deliver 130 MMcf/d of natural gas to Competitive Power Ventures’ 680 MW Valley Energy Center, which is currently under construction in Wawayanda, NY. The 16-inch diameter pipeline would run about eight miles in Orange County. The DEC continues to explore its legal options following FERC’s decision.

The Orange County Legislature voted overwhelmingly last week to approve a resolution that calls on the DEC to take every available legal action to ensure the pipeline and power plant don’t harm the environment or public health.

The DEC, which has denied WQCs for other major shale natural gas infrastructure projects, rejected Millennium’s application because it claimed that applicable federal law had changed during the course of its review. It found that FERC failed to conduct a complete environmental review for the project.

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