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FERC's Climate Review on Dominion Pipeline Under Fire

A phalanx of environmental and community organizations last Thursday asked FERC to reconsider approvals of enhancement work on the Dominion Energy Transmission Inc.’s New Market natural gas pipeline project in New York.

The pipeline upgrades, approved last year, have been completed on the upstate New York interstate transmission pipeline that added 112 MMcf/d of capacity beginning last November.

In rejecting a rehearing of its decision, federal regulators said they were no longer going to go beyond the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in their environmental assessments of pipeline projects. The original environmental assessment of the project was launched three years ago.

Led by Otsego 2000, the activists claim the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is abusing its powers and "showing a bias" toward the pipelines at the expense of providing the correct environmental reviews and mitigation. At issue is how FERC is assessing impacts on greenhouse gas emissions.

Regulators contend that they should calculate the upstream and downstream emissions when precise information is available and the effects in specific cases if they are "sufficiently causally connected" to the pipeline involved.

The groups sent a letter to FERC alleging the Commission "has misused its authority" and should reverse a May 18 order denying a rehearing on New Market. FERC concluded assessing upstream and downstream production and gas use for the project was outside the scope of the NEPA analysis.

A Dominion spokesperson told NGI on Friday the project is now fully operational, allowing the local utility National Grid to expand its gas service in the region.

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