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FERC Extends Public Comment Deadline For Northeast Energy Direct

FERC has extended the scoping period for Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Northeast Energy Direct Project (NED) over staff concerns that the Commission would not have enough time to address public comments in its draft environmental impact statement.

The project would upgrade Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) infrastructure in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut to add 2.2 Bcf of Marcellus Shale capacity to New England states. The project's public comment period was originally set to expire on Monday. But in a memo last Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the period would be extended with a 14th public meeting set for Cheshire County, NH.

The meeting date and a new deadline for the comment period are still being determined. While FERC said it chose to extend the comment period because of staff concerns, New York's U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, along with New York Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, wrote to the Commission urging it to extend the scoping period through November.

"After speaking with the people we represent, and their elected officials, we do not believe that there is sufficient time to review, analyze and respond to the new information for the Aug. 31 deadline," the lawmakers told FERC Chairman Norman Bay in a letter Friday.

The lawmakers' concerns were prompted by an additional 6,000 pages of information about the project released by Kinder Morgan in July. NED would add 412 miles of pipeline, nine compressor stations, delivery laterals and make other modifications to existing infrastructure in all five states. The company entered the pre-filing process in September 2014, while anchor shippers signed up in March for about 500,000 Dth/d of incremental capacity on the project's market path segment (see Daily GPIMarch 5).

The scoping extension comes after a series of filings with FERC in which Massachusetts officials said they were opposed to the project, expressing concerns about possible leaks, ruptures, explosions and diminished property values (see Daily GPIAug. 27).

Kinder Morgan has said 91% of the NED market path segment would be co-located along existing utility corridors or near the TGP mainline, while both the supply and market segments would be 82% co-located along those paths.

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