State’s DEC regulations protect vital waterways
On a beautiful spring morning, I volunteered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to stock brown trout along Cattaraugus and Elton Creeks. It was gratifying to release these lively trout into waterways now protected by the DEC’s denial of 401 Water Certification for the Northern Access Pipeline.
Construction of the project would have been against the will of people across Western New York, including landowners who did not want a 24-inch high-pressure fracked gas pipeline slashing through their property. These landowners are still threatened as National Fuel proceeds with eminent domain. Residents in Pendleton fought hard to protect their families from health impacts of a toxic-spewing compressor station.
A component of the project was a dehydration facility in Wheatfield to process the gas to meet Canadian standards. This gas was for export and National Fuel’s profit.
Fracked gas is not clean – from the highly potent heat-trapping emissions of methane, to the combustion of the gas, reports are now showing it is on par or worse than coal in contributing to climate change. Millions of gallons of water are laced with a toxic mix of chemicals to extract the gas and the drinking water of our neighbors in Pennsylvania is being contaminated. Marcellus shale gas contains radon. We need a rapid transition to renewable energy, not more fracked gas.
The DEC warned National Fuel three times, beginning in 2014, that a full environmental impact study was warranted. Not only did it ignore these warnings, it filed a request to bypass and usurp New York’s right to regulate our air and water. At a time when our federal government is working to strip away environmental protections, we need New York to stand strong. The DEC did just that by following regulations to protect our water.
Our health, our water and stopping the devastating consequences of climate change are more important than National Fuel’s profits.