The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it disagrees with FERC that Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. LLC's (Transco) Dalton Expansion Project in Georgia won't impact several species along the proposed pipeline's route. It recommended that the regulatory agency reevaluate the project, which would help move Marcellus Shale gas to the Southeast.
In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, FWS Field Supervisor Donald Imm said the service does not concur with the Commission's opinion that the pipeline will have no effect on the gray bat, fine-lined pocketbook, Southern clubshell, rayed kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, Coosa moccasinshell, Georgia pigtoe, Southern pigtoe, Georgia rockress, little amphianthus and Tennessee yellow-eyed grass.
Imm added that the FWS also disagreed with FERC's determination that the Dalton project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the Cherokee darter, Etowah darter, large-flowered skullcap, Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat. According to Imm, despite best management practices by Transco, the pipeline project will still require the clearing of more than 425 acres of land, salvage operations and open cut installation of pipeline at 79 locations in the Etowah River Basin's Raccoon and Pumpkinville Creek systems. The project would also require the pumping of 1.5 million gallons of water for horizontal directional drilling at two crossings under the Conasauga River.
FERC issued an environmental assessment (EA) for the project [CP15-117] on March 31. Imm said the FWS agreed with FERC's determination that proposed pipeline will have no effect on the Conasauga logperch, amber darter and blue shiner.
The Dalton Expansion Project calls for construction of 112 miles of new pipeline, ranging from 16- to 30-inches in diameter, from the existing Transco pipeline at Station 115 in Coweta County, GA, to new delivery points in Georgia's Bartow and Murray counties (see Shale Daily,March 20, 2015). The project also includes a new compressor facility in Carroll County, GA, as well as three new metering facilities and other related pipe and valve modifications to existing facilities. According to FERC, Transco also plans to modify existing facilities along its mainline in Virginia and North Carolina to accommodate bi-directional flow.
The pipeline lateral is designed to connect the Transco mainline to an existing power plant in northern Georgia operated by Oglethorpe Power Co., and to provide natural gas to a local distribution company operated by Atlanta Gas Light Co.
"We believe that the issues noted in the referenced FWS letter can be categorized as procedural or administrative and should not have any effect on the Dalton project, its schedule or our coordination efforts with FWS," Williams spokesman Chris Stockton told NGI's Shale Daily on Thursday.
An open season was completed in April 2014, with shippers signing up for 100% of the project’s 448,000 Dth/d of firm capacity (see Shale Daily, April 21, 2014). If approved, Williams hopes to begin construction in July, with an in-service date of May 2017.