New York environmental agency finds proposed National Grid project will not affect any state protected stream

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently told state regulators that it “has no additional special concerns” involving National Grid USA’s proposed new 345-kV/115-kV transmission station and six new transmission loops as long as an environmental management and construction plan (EM&CP), protective of the environment, is developed and adhered to.

As reported, Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid filed on July 30 its application with the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to amend the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need issued by the PSC in December 1975 to include the new project.

“The project is one of the most critical of several planned reinforcements to address the present and long-range energy needs of the southwest region, which encompasses National Grid’s electric system in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties [in New York] and portions of Allegany and Erie counties,” the company said in its application.

In its Sept. 16 administrative and technical review of the project, filed with the PSC, the DEC noted that a wetland delineation was done by the company, Stantec, and verified by the DEC on June 5, 2012. The project figures for the Five Mile Road Station show the facility to be greater than 100 feet from the delineated wetland boundary.

The application stated that activities such as minor clearing of trees and shrubs, removal of topsoil, and site grading may be required; and that the wetland and adjacent area boundaries will be delineated before construction and precautions will be taken to prevent any disturbance of those areas.

The project EM&CP should describe the best management practices that will be used to protect the wetland area and its regulated 100-foot-wide adjacent area. If construction does not begin by five years from the verification date, or June 4, 2017, a new delineation should be performed to determine the current wetland boundary, the DEC added.

“By avoiding the wetland and [adjacent areas], there will be no requirement for the project to comply with the intent of the regulatory requirements found at Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law,” the DEC said.

Also, the project will not affect Fivemile Creek or any other state protected stream.

The DEC further noted that the application stated that the facility will have a backup diesel generator, which may require a minor facility registration for the air emissions, adding, “We agree with this assessment and can address the air registration requirement as appropriate after the actual generator has been determined.”

Also, the DEC noted that it has reviewed the available information in the New York Natural Heritage Program databases for known occurrences of federally listed or proposed endangered or threatened species; state-listed endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species; significant natural communities; and other significant habitats. “No occurrences were found in the vicinity of the project site,” the DEC added.

Among other things, the DEC said that based on information obtained from its GIS database from the state Archaeological Site Map maintained by the State Historic Preservation Office of the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the project location is not located within an archaeologically sensitive area.

National Grid is a subsidiary of National Grid plc.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.