Description: Action seeking declaratory judgment that federal law preempted state environmental permitting requirements for gas pipeline project and also seeking to enjoin enforcement of state permitting requirements to interfere with project.
Millennium Pipeline Co. v. Seggos
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/13/2017 Memorandum Decision Download Motion for preliminary injunction granted and motion to dismiss denied. District Court Enjoined Agency from Enforcing State Permitting Requirements to Stop Construction of Pipeline. The federal district court for the Northern District of New York granted a pipeline company’s request for a preliminary injunction barring NYSDEC from enforcing stream disturbance and freshwater wetlands permitting requirements to prevent the company from beginning construction on a pipeline. NYSDEC had denied the company’s application for the permits on the ground that FERC’s review of the pipeline project had not been sufficient because FERC did not adequately consider greenhouse gas impacts as required by a recent D.C. Circuit decision. The court denied NYSDEC’s motion to dismiss; it held that the Second Circuit did not have exclusive jurisdiction of the pipeline company’s claims and that the company had standing to challenge the permits that NYSDEC denied. In granting the preliminary injunction, the court found that the company had demonstrated irreparable harm and a strong likelihood of success on the merits of the argument that the federal Natural Gas Act preempted state permitting requirements. The court also found that the defendants had not shown that environmental damage caused by the “just 7.8 miles long” pipeline would outweigh the economic harm of a construction delay and that the public interest would not be disserved by a preliminary injunction. 10/27/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Pipeline Company Asked Federal Court to Declare That Federal Law Preempted New York Permitting Requirements. A pipeline developer filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of New York claiming that the Natural Gas Act preempted NYSDEC from applying any state permitting requirements that would delay or interfere with the construction and operation of a 7.8-mile pipeline project known as the Valley Lateral Project. The project would provide natural gas to a new power plant in Orange County. In August 2017, NYSDEC conditionally denied the developer’s joint application for state law stream disturbance and freshwater wetlands permits, as well as for a water quality certificate pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, asserting that a recent D.C. Circuit case regarding FERC’s obligation to consider greenhouse gas emissions in the environmental review for a pipeline rendered FERC’s review of the Valley Lateral Project insufficient.