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Trade unions protest state for holding up pipeline

A dozen or so union members from area trade unions are picketing this week outside of the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Michigan Avenue office.

Union members say they're frustrated at the lack of progress on National Fuel's proposed half-billion dollar construction of the 97-mile Northern Access Pipeline from Pennsylvania shale gas country to connection points in Western New York. They contend state officials are unnecessarily holding up the process.

"We want to build this thing, and we want to build it correctly," said Joshua Williams, a spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers. "We don't want to destroy any environment."

Williams said they approached officials in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office last week and were told the decision was in the hands of the DEC.

Earlier this month, the DEC appealed a federal agency's decision that the agency failed to file a timely denial of the pipeline project in 2017.

DEC files appeal in effort to block National Fuel pipeline

At that time, the DEC determined National Fuel's plans – for the pipeline through Allegany, Cattaraugus and Erie counties – posed threats to one or more of the 192 creeks and streams it proposed to cross.

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