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Pennsylvania Readies WQC for Transco's Northeast Supply Enhancement

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reviewing plans to issue a Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) under the federal Clean Water Act for Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.’s (Transco) Northeast Supply Enhancement Project.

The agency published notice of its intent in the Aug. 19 Pennsylvania Bulletin, with a public comment period running through Sept. 18.

Transco wants to install about 10 miles of 42-inch pipeline in Lancaster and Chester counties, construct four access roads and add a 21,902 hp compressor station. The project would cross 11 streams and 11 wetlands.

The nearly $1 billion project would allow Transco to increase natural gas deliveries to National Grid, the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. The expansion is designed to create 400,000 Dth/d of incremental firm capacity to Northeast markets, primarily to feed growing demand for gas in New York City, which two years ago announced plans to phase out the use of No. 4 fuel oil by 2030 to help curb emissions.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), however, told Transco parent Williams Partners LP in July that its WQC application is incomplete until FERC issues a draft environmental impact statement. Transco filed in March at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a certificate [CP17-101].

Both DEC and Williams have said the notice of incomplete application was not unexpected. Transco is targeting a December 2019 in-service date for the project, which would also include three miles of pipeline in New Jersey and 23 miles of pipe offshore New Jersey and New York.

Environmental groups have voiced serious concerns about the 23-mile segment of new pipeline that would cross Raritan Bay from Old Bridge, NJ, to Rockaway Point in Queens. 

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