- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - While one company has shelved plans for a natural gas pipeline from New York into New England, another project following a similar route is hoping to proceed.

The 124-mile Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania’s shale gas fields to eastern New York is supported by firm customer commitments and was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2014, Constitution spokesman Christopher Stockton said Thursday. Construction was scheduled to begin this summer but has been delayed pending action on a water quality permit that has been before the Department of Environmental Conservation for nearly a year.

On Wednesday, Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. cited low gas prices and a lack of contracts with gas distribution companies as it announced it was mothballing its Northeast Energy Direct project. That project was still under review by FERC and was planned to go online in 2018.

Constitution Pipeline Company, a partnership formed by Cabot Oil & Gas, Williams Partners and Piedmont Natural Gas Company, plans to begin construction in the fall and go online in the second half of 2017.

Both pipelines faced opposition from environmental groups and landowners along their routes, while local pipeline supporters cite construction jobs, tax revenues and access to cheap natural gas.

Pipeline opponents held a rally at the state Capitol on April 5 to urge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to deny the water quality permit. Under federal Clean Water Act rules, the DEC has until next Tuesday to act on the permit, which is intended to protect streams, wetlands and other water resources from damage.

Pipeline supporters rallied in Binghamton on Thursday urging Cuomo to approve the permit so the project can go forward.

“DEC is undertaking a careful and thorough review of the necessary state permit applications as required by our protective regulatory programs,” DEC spokesman Sean Mahar said on Wednesday. He wouldn’t comment on when a decision will be made or what it will be.

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