CSC: Docket No. 221 Decision
Decisions

DOCKET NO. 221 - Algonquin Gas Transmission Company and Islander East Company, LLC application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a proposed new compressor station near East Johnson Avenue, Cheshire, Connecticut; a proposed new meter station adjacent to 67 Laydon Avenue, North Haven, Connecticut; and a new 24-inch diameter gas pipeline from the proposed North Haven meter station to Branford across Long Island Sound to the New York State line.

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

August 1, 2002

Decision and Order

The Connecticut Siting Council (Council) believes that this proposed project should be reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in conjunction with other competing projects to assess which project can best serve the needs of the region with the least environmental effects. Additionally, we believe that it would be prudent for the FERC to defer issuing a decision on all energy projects that traverse Long Island Sound until the taskforce, which was established pursuant to An Act Concerning the Protection of Long Island Sound, has issued its report and recommendations to the Connecticut Legislature. Nonetheless, we are directed to issue, for this application, recommendations that will specify the preferred route, construction procedures, and environmental mitigation measures that will minimize and mitigate, to the fullest extent possible, adverse effects on the environment, and protect the citizens of the State of Connecticut.

Pursuant to the foregoing Findings of Fact and Opinion, the Council believes that the following conditions, Development and Management (D&M) Plan, specified route and variations, construction techniques, installation schedule, inspection program, and submittal of permits can mitigate the effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Connecticut section of the proposed natural gas transmission line, including effects on the natural environment; ecological integrity and balance; public health and safety; scenic, historic, and recreational values; forests and parks; air and water purity; and fish and wildlife. Therefore, the Council directs that a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need, as provided by General Statutes § 16-50k, be issued to Algonquin Gas Transmission Company and Islander East Company, LLC for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a new natural gas compressor station north of East Johnson Avenue and east of Route 10, in Cheshire, Connecticut; a new meter station adjacent to 67 Laydon Avenue, in North Haven, Connecticut; and a new 24-inch diameter gas pipeline from the North Haven Meter Station to Branford, across Long Island Sound to the New York State line. The Council denies certification of the pipeline Replacement Alternative, the Sachem Head Alternative route, the Short Beach Alternative Route, the Salt Marsh Alternative route, the Pine Orchard Alternative route, and the Option 2 and Option 3 off-shore Alternative routes.

If approved by the FERC, the proposed facilities shall be constructed, operated, and maintained substantially as specified in the Council’s record in this matter, except as otherwise ordered by the Council, subject to the following conditions:

Conditions

  1. The Certificate holder shall provide a copy of all final decisions by the FERC, Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal or State regulatory agencies concerning the proposed project prior to construction or installation. If there are provisions in any regulatory decision that are inconsistent with the Council's record in this matter, the Certificate holder shall notify the Council immediately.

  2. The Certificate holder shall provide a schedule for the proposed construction activities to the Council, and the Chief Elected Official or their representative of each Town that is affected by the proposed project. The Certificate holder shall specify the proposed work hours for the construction of the natural gas compressor station, on-shore pipeline, and horizontal directional drill operations, subject to Council approval.

  3. The Certificate holder shall schedule and coordinate the proposed pipeline installation with the United States Coast Guard. The Certificate holder shall develop and adopt provisions for the installation of the off-shore segment of the pipeline to minimize conflicts with waterborne ship traffic.

  4. The Certificate holder shall install the off-shore section of the pipeline consistent with any recommendations of the National Marine Fisheries Service to minimize potential impacts on essential fish habitat (EFH), and any permit conditions of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Office of Long Island Sound Programs.

  5. The Certificate holder shall only acquire water for hydrostatic testing from waterbodies with an adequate volume of water such that its withdrawal would not cause the flow in the waterbodies to go below its aquatic base flow as determined by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). All withdrawal points shall be channeled and screened to reduce impingement and entrainment of juvenile and larval fish. All discharge points shall be protected to minimize erosion and scour. All details on withdrawal points, discharge points, energy defusion, and screening shall be subject to Council approval as part of a D&M Plan.

  6. The Certificate holder shall not introduce chemical additives into the water used for hydrostatic testing, nor shall chemicals be used to dry the pipeline facilities following hydrostatic testing.

  7. The Certificate holder is encouraged to purchase and donate, or provide funds sufficient to purchase, undeveloped parcel(s) to the affected town or conservation organization that are traversed by the pipeline to compensate for unavoidable disturbance to conservation areas. The area of the parcel(s) to be purchased and donated shall be no less than the area disturbed by the construction of the pipeline.

  8. The Certificate holder shall establish a toll-free telephone number and complaint resolution process for the public.

    Development and Management Plan

  9. Prior to the commencement of construction, the Certificate holder shall submit D&M Plans to the Council for its approval. The Council shall have 45 days to approve, deny, or approve with conditions any plan submitted as part of the overall D&M Plan. The Certificate holder shall provide copies of such plans to the Chief Elected Official or their representative for each town that is affected by the proposed project at least 20 days prior to the submittal of such plan to the Council for its approval. At the time the Certificate holder submits such plan or plans to the Council for its approval, the Chief Elected Official or their representative may provide in writing its comments and recommendations regarding such plan to the Council. All submittals to the Council shall consist of an original and 20 copies. All appropriate plans and maps are to be provided on maps at a scale of at least 1 inch equals 200 feet, unless site specific plans, at a scale of one inch equals 50 feet, are specifically authorized by the Council. The Certificate holder may consult with Council staff in the preparation of the D&M Plans.

    Any changes to the selected route, construction methods, or Certificate requirements shall be subject to Council approval. Emergency changes to the approved D&M Plan that would adversely affect scheduling or impact on hydrologic, geologic, biologic, archaeological, cultural, or other environmental concerns through delays, can be approved verbally by the Council Chairperson.

  10. The Certificate holder shall provide a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC), which includes provisions for storing hazardous materials, chemicals, fuels, and lubricating oils; refueling; inspection and reporting; and prevention and response procedures with the submission of each required D&M Plan.

  11. The Certificate holder shall not commence construction of the natural gas compressor station in Cheshire until it has secured Council approval of a D&M Plan, which includes the following elements:

  1. A final site plan showing the location of the compressor station equipment, access road, drainage structures, utilities and limits of clearing;

  2. An erosion and sediment control plan, consistent with the 2002 Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control;

  3. Provisions for minimizing the compressor station fenced area to reduce the clearing of vegetation; and

  4. Provisions for the protection of groundwater resources including provisions for the inspection of the natural gas compressor station by South Central Regional Water Authority personnel for compliance with the final pollution prevention and control plan; 150 percent secondary containment of all hazardous materials stored at the natural gas compressor station site; and the discharge and infiltration of clean stormwater runoff, wherever possible.

12.   The Certificate holder shall not commence construction of the metering equipment at
        67 Laydon Avenue, North Haven, or the on-shore segment of the proposed 24-inch
        natural gas pipeline from the North Haven Meter Station to Branford until it has secured 
        Council approval of a D&M Plan, which includes the following elements:

  1. A final site plan showing the location of the metering equipment at the North Haven Meter Station;

  2. A final site plan showing the location of the pipeline and temporary workspaces;

  3. Site specific plans for each of the route deviations ordered by the Council;

  4. Site specific plans, at a scale of one inch equals 50 feet, identifying the proposed pipeline, limits of the construction and permanent ROWs, and installation procedures in areas where the proposed construction ROW would be located less than 50 feet from a residence or commercial structure. Site specific plans shall also depict how the proposed pipeline would avoid large trees, residential structures, wells, and primary and reserve septic system areas; and

  5. An erosion and sediment control plan, consistent with the 2002 Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.

  1. The Certificate holder shall not commence construction of the off-shore segment of the proposed 24-inch natural gas pipeline from Branford across Long Island Sound to the New York State line until it has secured Council approval of a D&M Plan, which includes the following elements:

  1. A final site plan showing the location of the pipeline and transition basin; and

  2. Provisions for the removal of excavated spoil from the perimeter of the transition basin; or alternatively, provisions to minimize erosion of the proposed spoil piles around the perimeter of the transition basin.

14.    The Certificate holder shall provide to the Council an Installation Notification Plan 
         identifying all parties with interests in navigation and commercial fishing near the project 
         area, and state and federal regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction for the proposed 
         offshore pipeline project that would receive the following information:

  1. Notice of the installation of the pipeline within one week prior to the commencement of construction;

  2. The proposed pipeline route in Loran-C, Geographic Positioning System (GPS), and Connecticut State Plane Coordinates (NAD 83) coordinates;

  3. Notice of completion of pipeline installation; and

  4. Post-construction mapping of the off-shore pipeline location and depth in Loran-C, GPS, and Connecticut State Plane Coordinates (NAD 83) coordinates, within two months of the completion of installation of the pipeline facilities, or as approved by the Council.

15.    The Certificate holder shall not commence construction of the horizontal direction drill 
        (HDD) segment of the proposed 24-inch natural gas pipeline from Branford across Long 
        Island Sound to the New York State line until it has secured Council approval of a D&M 
        Plan, which includes the following elements:

  1. A final site plan showing the location of the horizontal directional drill work area and equipment layout;

  2. A Directional Drilling Monitoring and Operations Plan with provisions to identify, contain, and recover an unplanned release of drilling fluid between the Connecticut Shoreline and MP 10.9 for Council approval;

  3. A Directional Drilling Monitoring and Operations Plan with provisions to contain the drilling fluid during the reaming operations, and recover the drilling fluid released during the pilot hole and pipe pullback operations; and

  4. Provision for limiting construction noise through the implementation of high performance noise mitigation measures.

Pipeline Route

16.    The Council approves of the proposed pipeline route with the following deviations:

  1. The Certificate holder shall locate the proposed pipeline further to the west than originally proposed along the Ghiroli property between approximately MP 7.0 and MP 7.3;

  2. The Certificate holder shall locate the proposed pipeline so as to cross the Branford Steam Railroad (BSR) tracks farther to the north by approximately thirty feet at approximately MP 8.6 to avoid impacts to a Branford Land Trust (BLT) property, provided moving the proposed crossing does not traverse the property on the west side of the BSR tracks identified as NHV 175.1;

  3. The Certificate holder shall locate the proposed pipeline along the west side of the marshalling yard between MP 9.15 and MP 9.4; and

  4. The Certificate holder shall locate the proposed pipeline as detailed in the Pond Alternative route between approximately MP 9.7 to MP 9.9.

Construction Procedures

17.    The Certificate holder shall undertake the following construction procedures in residential 
         areas:

  1. Limit the removal of mature or significant trees;

  2. Undertake special construction procedures to minimize impacts to any residence within 25 feet of the proposed construction ROW;

  3. Develop site-specific construction plans in consultation with the property owner for residences within 50 feet of the proposed construction ROW;

  4. Install and maintain construction fencing along the edge of the construction work area for a distance of 100 feet on either side of the residence;

  5. Restore the soil profile, lawn, and landscaping within the proposed construction work area promptly after backfilling the trench; and

  6. Notify property owners and tenants of the proposed construction schedule no less than one week prior to ground disturbance along their property.

18.    The Certificate holder shall install temporary bridges, or close only one travel lane at a 
         time to maintain traffic on local roads, where feasible, in consultation with the towns.

19.    The Certificate holder shall undertake the following construction procedures in wetlands 
         and forested wetland areas:

  1. Temporary workspaces shall be located no closer than 50 feet from the edge of a wetland or a waterbody;

  2. Restrict stump removal, grading, topsoil segregation, and excavation to the area immediately over the proposed pipeline trench;

  3. Material excavated from the pipeline trench shall not be sidecast adjacent to the trench in wetlands, unless site specific plans are submitted for Council approval;

  4. Undertake pipeline installation using the push-pull technique where wetland soils are unstable or inundated;

  5. Utilize equipment mats or timber riprap to support equipment and reduce soil compaction and mixing; and

  6. Restrict construction equipment refueling and lubricating, and concrete coating to upland areas more than 100 feet from the edge of wetlands or waterbodies.

20.    The Certificate holder shall undertake the following construction procedures for all 
        stream and river crossings:

  1. All flume pipes shall be sized to accommodate the stream or river flow necessary to avoid flooding upstream;

  2. All stream or river crossings shall be located so as to avoid damage to important fish habitat including undercut banks associated with roots of large streambank trees;

  3. Minimize the work footprint within the watercourses and adjacent riparian areas;

  4. Utilize bio-engineering to re-establish stream banks versus using hard armoring; and

  5. Restrict the use of riprap on the streambed.

21.    The Certificate holder shall undertake the following off-shore construction procedures:

  1. The proposed pipeline shall be buried a minimum of three feet below the seafloor;

  2. Employ a sub-sea plow to install the proposed pipeline from approximately MP 12.0 to MP 32.15, and between MP 10.9 and MP 12.0 if feasible;

  3. Postpone in-water construction activities until after the successful completion of the HDD pilot hole; and

  4. Utilize mid-line buoys on the anchor cables to reduce impacts to the benthic community.

22.   The Certificate holder shall undertake the following construction procedures regarding
        blasting:

  1. With landowner permission, conduct pre-blast surveys of structures or wells within 200 feet of the proposed construction ROW where blasting is anticipated;

  2. With landowner permission, conduct post-blast surveys of structures or wells within 200 feet of the proposed construction ROW, if the property owner(s) identify any damage or change to their properties, or if excessive ground vibrations have been recorded during the blasting operations.

  3. Utilize equipment mounted pneumatic hammers and/or rock boring equipment in sensitive or residential areas where blasting is undesirable. The Certificate holder may place fill material over the pipeline in order to achieve the desired depth of cover provided the overfilling does not substantially alter drainage patterns, and site specific plans are submitted for Council approval.

  4. Restrict blasting or other construction methods in North Branford between Twin Lakes Road (MP 5.0) and Commerce Drive (MP 6.05) that could exacerbate existing groundwater contamination conditions, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, and subject to approval from the Council.

  1. The Certificate holder shall comply with the FERC's Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and the FERC's Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures (Plan and Procedures) regarding the revegetation of affected forested wetlands. The Certificate holder shall submit a Forested Wetland Revegetation Plan with provisions for planting native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species within the temporary construction right-of-way and the non-maintained areas of the permanent right-of-way in forested wetland areas.

  2. The Certificate holder shall undertake the following vegetative clearing, maintenance, and monitoring procedures, subject to landowner preferences:

  1. Preserve mature or significant trees within the construction ROW that are not an obstruction to construction activities;

  2. Maintain vegetation within the permanent ROW by mechanical means;

  3. Maintain a 50-foot-long herbaceous strip adjacent to a stream or river until immediately before construction;

  4. Undertake vegetative restoration of riparian areas affected by construction activities;

  5. Maintain a strip of vegetation along the width of the construction ROW and approximately 25 feet back from the edge of a stream or river following the installation of the proposed pipeline;

  6. Transplant or replace vegetation used to landscape residential or recreational areas within the proposed construction ROW;

  7. Maintain a ten-foot-wide corridor centered over the pipeline in a herbaceous state in wetland areas;

  8. Maintain a ten-foot wide corridor centered over the pipeline in a herbaceous state annually, and clear a 30-foot wide corridor centered over the pipeline no more than once every three years in upland areas;

  9. Selectively prune back trees, which at maturity are greater than 20 feet tall, extending into the 30-foot wide corridor centered over the pipeline no more than once every three years in upland areas; and

  10. On all BLT properties, maintain a five-foot-wide corridor centered over the pipeline in a herbaceous state; selectively cut and remove from the permanent ROW every three years all trees within a ten foot wide strip, 30 feet beyond the near rail of the BSR tracks that are greater than 15 feet in height; and allow vegetation 40 feet or more beyond the near rail of the BSR tracks to revert to pre-construction conditions.

Inspection and Monitoring

  1. The Certificate holder shall submit to the Council a minimum of three qualified companies to act as an independent inspector(s). The Certificate holder shall hire the independent inspector(s) selected by the Council to verify consistency with the Council's Decision and Order, document compliance with environmental requirements, prepare status reports, and act as a liaison between the Council, and the Certificate holder's environmental inspector and contractors. The independent inspector shall provide weekly progress reports in writing to the Council and to the Chief Elected Official, or their representative for each municipality affected by the project describing all significant construction activities and all associated environmental effects.

The independent inspector should have formal training and experience in civil and environmental engineering, and soil sedimentation and erosion controls as detailed in the 2002 Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control. The independent inspector should have sufficient oversight and authority to stop construction practices that are inconsistent with the Council's Decision and Order, the FERC's Certificate requirements, and the approved Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan, or that may cause significant damage or disruption to the environment.

  1. The Certificate holder shall provide a plan for compaction testing of soils within the construction ROW within three months of the completion of construction in agricultural areas.

  2. The Certificate holder shall provide a plan for monitoring crop growth within the construction ROW for two complete growing seasons in agricultural areas. The Certificate holder shall file a final report after two complete growing seasons summarizing the crop monitoring data with a plan for mitigation or compensation of crop loss and other documented damages resulting from the proposed construction activities in agricultural areas.

  3. The Certificate holder shall provide a plan for post-construction monitoring for two growing seasons in non-cultivated upland areas, and for up to five years in all disturbed wetland areas, to determine the success of the vegetative restoration activities and soil erosion control.

  4. The Certificate holder shall provide an invasive species management plan, which includes provisions for post-construction monitoring, control, and removal of invasive plants along the pipeline ROW.

  5. The Certificate holder shall submit a plan for a pre-construction and post-construction survey of the benthic community, including leased and unleased shellfish beds under the jurisdiction of the State and the Town of Branford, along the pipeline route.

  6. The Certificate holder shall submit a plan for the post-construction restoration of shellfish beds along the proposed pipeline trench and anchor placement area, as deemed necessary by, and in coordination with, the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture.

  7. The Certificate holder shall develop a plan for monitoring groundwater quality and well yield for public water supply wells within 400 feet and private water supply wells within 200 feet of the proposed construction work areas.

  8. The Certificate holder shall develop a post-construction noise monitoring plan for the natural gas compressor station in Cheshire, and the North Haven Meter Station in North Haven, Connecticut.

We hereby direct that a copy of the Findings of Fact, Opinion, and Decision and Order be served on each person listed below, and notice of the Decision published in the New Haven Register, the Hartford Courant, the Cheshire Herald, the Record-Journal, the Waterbury Republican-American, and the Branford Review.

By this Decision and Order, the Council disposes of the legal rights, duties, and privileges of each party named or admitted to the proceeding in accordance with Section 16-50j-17 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.

The Parties and Intervenors in this proceeding are:

 

Applicant

 

 

 

Algonquin Gas Transmission Company and Islander East Pipeline Company LLC

Its Representative

Joseph C. Reinemann
Environmental Project Manager

Anthony M. Fitzgerald, Esq.
Carmody & Torrance

Intervenor

Rebecca Mars

 

 

Party

Branford Land Trust, Inc.

William Horne, President
Branford Land Trust, Inc.

Party

Town of Guilford

Charles R. Andres, Esq.
Tyler Cooper & Alcorn, LLP

Party

Town of Branford

Elizabeth P. Gilson, Esq.

Party

Patricia Widlitz
State Representative - 98th District

Party

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

Robert D. Snook
Assistant Attorney General

Intervenor

Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.

Philip M. Small, Esq.
Brown Rudnick Freed & Gesmer

Intervenor

William A. Aniskovich
State Senate - 12th District

Intervenor

 

Save the Sound, Inc.

Leah Lopez, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Party

Peter J. Panaroni, Jr.
State Representative - 102nd District

Intervenor

Menunkatuck Audubon Society

SuZanne Botta
President

Party

Mark DeFelice

 

 

Intervenors

Tilcon Inc. & Branford Steam Railroad Company

Stephen J. Anderson, Esq.
Eisenberg, Anderson, Michalik & Lynch, LLP

Intervenor

Juniper Point Association

Charles E. Tiernan, III
Lynch, Traub, Keefe and Errante

Intervenor

CT Stop the Pipeline

Dr. Katherine Kennedy

Intervenor

Edward P. Lang

Intervenor

Raymond J. Gincavage

Intervenors

William and Susan Lazine

Intervenors

Paul and Jacqueline Vierling Huang

Party

Town of North Haven

David J. Monz, Esq.
Scott N. Koschwitz, Esq.
Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.

 

 



Content Last Modified on 10/9/2002 12:50:04 PM