Houston Vector Project Passes Draft EIS Test at FERC
The proposed Vector Pipeline L.P. project cleared the initial
environmental hurdle at FERC last week, moving a step closer to
becoming a key transportation link between the Chicago hub and the
Dawn hub in Ontario, and major markets in the eastern United
Provided certain mitigation measures are adopted, the 1 Bcf/d
Chicago-to-Canada pipeline would have "limited adverse
environmental impact," according to Commission staff's draft
environmental impact statement (DEIS). Sponsors, IPL Energy of
Calgary and Detroit-based MCN Energy Group, claimed FERC's quick
action put them in the lead among projects designed to pick up
western Canadian gas brought into the Midwest by Northern Border
and the planned Alliance Pipeline. Plans for the pipeline were
filed in December 1997.
To mitigate the environmental impact Vector has leased 59 miles
of 36-inch pipe from MCN subsidiary Michigan Consolidated Gas. In
addition for much of its route the pipeline will be positioned
within or along existing permanent easements held by IPL's Lakehead
Pipe Line Partners L.P. It also follows other existing transmission
and utility rights-of-way for most of the remaining pipeline
segments. The project still needs a final impact statement and
certificate approval in the U.S. as well as authorization from the
National Energy Board for the Canadian portion. It has targeted
late 1999 for an in-service date.
Staff said it gave it gave Vector a passing mark in the initial
environmental review because 95% of the proposed route would be
adjacent to or within existing pipeline and power line rights of
ways, and many of the proposed facilities would be located in
sparsely populated, rural areas.
The proposed pipeline would extend from Joliet, IL, to a
connection with Vector Canada at the international border near St.
Clair, MI. The 330-mile system in the United States would include
three segments: 267 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline from Joliet
to Oakland County, MI; the 59 mile Michigan Consolidated segment
from Oakland County to St. Clair County, MI; and 3.7 miles of
42-inch pipeline terminating at the U.S.-Canadian border. Vector
Canada plans to build an additional 15-mile line from the border
connecting to the Dawn hub near Chatham, ON.
Vector says the proposed pipeline would provide U.S. shippers
with increased access to the Dawn hub and markets in Canada and the
eastern U.S. In addition, it will deliver significant volumes of
gas to markets in Michigan.
The FERC staff evaluated three system alternatives to the Vector
project - the ANR/Great Lakes System Alternative, the ANR/MichCon
System Alternative and the ANR/Consumers Energy System Alternative
- but rejected them all because of their inability to handle the
additional 1 Bcf/d of capacity that Vector would provide. They also
didn't stand up to an environmental comparison to the Vector
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