FERC has granted Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC permission to begin constructing the Valley Lateral Project, over the objections of New York regulators.

In a letter order Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also said Millennium was no longer required to consult with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) over the project’s possible impacts on the bog turtle [CP16-17].

According to the order, Millennium had provided survey reports on the bog turtle to the DEC last December, but it had yet to receive a response. However, in a separate letter dated Feb. 2, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said that while the project may affect the bog turtle, it was unlikely to adversely affect the species. FWS added that “no further coordination or consultation” was required.

“Accordingly, we conclude that Millennium has made a good faith effort” to abide by FERC environmental condition 14(a) “and that no further consultation under that condition is necessary,” FERC said.

Last Friday, the DEC requested that FERC not issue a notice to proceed (NTP). The state regulatory agency has been at loggerheads with FERC since September, when the Commission ruled that the DEC had waived its authority to issue a decision on a Section 401 water quality certification (WQC) for project because it took too long.

FERC’s order effectively reversed DEC’s denial of the WQC on Aug. 30, which came nearly two years after Millennium first filed its application.

The Valley Lateral Project would deliver about 130 MMcf/d to the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) 680 MW Valley Energy Center plant under construction in Wawayanda, NY. It calls for constructing a 16-inch diameter pipeline that would run about eight miles to the facility, which already has the necessary permits to begin operations. CPV has said that without the lateral it would burn ultra-low sulfur diesel to generate electricity.

“FERC’s decision to grant the Valley Lateral Project NTP is a crucial step forward for this important project,” said Greg Lalevee, chairman of the Engineers Labor-Employee Cooperative,. “Millennium’s pipeline extension to the CPV Valley power plant is a job-creating initiative that will not only provide an economic boost to New York State, but also improve much-needed access to affordable natural gas energy.

“The Valley Lateral Project has passed countless environmental tests, and with the experience and expertise that our members have building pipelines, we are confident that this project will be a resounding success for New York.”