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OilMonster

Natural Gas August 08, 2018 01:30:54 AM

Federal Ruling Reopens Door for Controversial Gas Pipeline

Anil
Mathews
OilMonster Author
The water quality certificate under the federal Clean Water Act is critical to the project moving forward.
Federal Ruling Reopens Door for Controversial Gas Pipeline

SEATTLE (Oil Monster): A new federal ruling has opened the door for National Fuel to revive a plan to build a 97-mile natural gas pipeline between northwestern Pennsylvania and Elma.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled Monday that the state Department of Environmental Conservation failed to act within its one-year statutory limit before it denied a water quality certificate needed to build the proposed Northern Access Pipeline.

The company's half-billion-dollar proposed Northern Access Pipeline is designed to transport natural gas from the shale-rich regions of Pennsylvania north through Allegany, Cattaraugus and Erie counties.

Nearly a dozen affected landowners and environmental groups fought the pipeline in advance of last year's DEC decision on grounds it would detrimentally affect the environment, watersheds and their properties.

The water quality certificate under the federal Clean Water Act is critical to the project moving forward.

"We are pleased with yesterday's ruling, which removes a major barrier for an important project that will provide consumers with increased access to abundant energy supplies, while also improving reliability and resiliency of the energy grid," National Fuel said in a statement Tuesday.

The ruling roiled some local environmental advocates who thought the issue was decided more than a year ago.

"It's like changing the goalposts in the middle of the game," Diana Strablow, vice-chair of the Sierra Club, Niagara Group.

The project, which the company has said could create nearly 1,700 jobs with millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state, would reach a connection point in Elma.

Besides the pipeline, National Fuel also proposes upgrading a compression station in Porterville, installing a new compression station in Pendleton, building a gas dehydration facility in Wheatfield and constructing two additional miles of pipeline in Pendleton.

The company said it remains committed to the project and is developing a revised timeline "due to the significant delay caused by actions of the state agency."

That state agency, the DEC, rebuked the FERC decision. The DEC said it intends to appeal FERC's decision by seeking a rehearing and a stay on the project.

Courtesy: www.buffalonews.com

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