After years of setbacks in the courts and head-butting with the states, Islander East Pipeline and the Connecticut attorney general's office have agreed not to proceed with an appeal at the Department of Commerce, signaling the end to the Connecticut-to-Long Island pipeline as it is currently structured, said a spokeswoman for Spectra Energy, one of the project's sponsors.

The project's fate was set when the U.S. Supreme Court in December upheld a lower court's decision to let stand Connecticut's denial of a water quality permit to Islander East, said spokeswoman Toni Beck. The high court's ruling "made the override of the CZMA [Coastal Zone Management Act] pretty much moot," she noted.

The agreement with Connecticut means "we aren't going to proceed with that particular [pipeline] route," Beck said, indicating that perhaps a revised project would be proposed in the future.

Spectra Energy "thinks the need for the gas is there" in the region, she said. "Don't know what it [a revised project] would look like or when."

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was pleased to see the project fail. "Islander East is dead -- finally, irretrievably and irrevocably. Our long fight -- from its first days about a decade ago -- has produced final victory. The developers have abandoned their last, long-shot appeal to the U.S. secretary of Commerce, consigning this environmental abomination to the ash heap of history."

Islander East had asked the high court to overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York's ruling last May that upheld the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) denial of a permit under the Clean Water Act for the project.

The Islander East project has been at the center of a lengthy and labyrinthine legal dispute with the Connecticut DEP over the water permit since the project was first approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2002 (see Daily GPI, Sept. 19, 2002). The pipeline backers and the state of Connecticut have been in the courts since June 2004 (see Daily GPI, June 22, 2004).

The $180 million Islander East project was designed to deliver 285,000 Dth/d of gas 45 miles from New Haven, CT, across Long Island Sound to Suffolk County near Yaphank, NY, with a lateral to be constructed to Calverton, NY.

©Copyright 2009 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.