Millennium Has to Sweat it Out a Little Longer
It looks as though Millennium Pipeline's long wait for a FERC ruling
is going to last a little longer. Instead of getting a speedy Final Environmental
Impact Statement (FEIS), the pipeline must wait until FERC can examine
its proposed route change in New York, Daniel M. Adamson, director of the
Office of Energy Projects, told project sponsors.
Adamson turned down a request by Millennium to exclude the route change
from its FEIS to speed up the process. The change was filed as an amendment
to Millennium's application last week. Project sponsors now expect the
pipeline to be in-service in November 2001, which is two years later than
"We cannot issue an FEIS that does not evaluate the entire project,"
Adamson told Millennium's David Pentzien. "This would entail segmenting
the analysis of the project and would be inconsistent with the Council
on Environmental Quality regulations implementing the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA)."
In March, Adamson requested a status report on the $650 million pipeline
in light of criticism from New York regulators and comments made by NiSource
Chairman Gary Neale about the project (see NGI, March
27and April 24). The 442-mile project
would bring about 714 MMcf/d of gas from Canada under Lake Erie to the
New York metropolitan area.
The New York Public Service Commission and the New York State Reliability
Council opposed Millennium's proposed construction along Consolidated Edison's
electric transmission right-of-way in Westchester County. The reliability
council noted in filed comments that the 345 kV transmission corridor "happens
to be the most important and most critical electric power interconnection
between the major load center of New York City and the rest of the eastern
interconnection." It has six 345 kV high voltage transmission lines
and a total thermal capacity of 5,000 MW.
In a response to Adamson's letter, Millennium's Pentzien said an alternative
route in Westchester County had been identified and may meet the PSC's
safety concerns if certain mitigating measures identified by the PSC are
adopted. He requested that the route change not hold up the FEIS.
The pipeline sponsors filed the revised route with the Commission last
week. The agreed upon alternative route in Westchester County "would
for the most part be located away from the power line right-of-way"
of Consolidated Edison and would instead follow public highways and bike
trails for most of its length.
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