FERC released a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for a trio of separate, but connected, natural gas transmission projects in the southeastern United States, concluding that building them would not significantly impact the environment so long as the applicants implement certain mitigation measures.

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a DEIS for the Southeast Market Pipelines (SMP) project, which would provide about 1.1 Bcf/d to markets in Florida and the Southeast. The project calls for building 685.5 miles of pipeline and six new natural gas-fired compressor stations, as well as modifying existing compressor stations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

SMP is composed of three separate projects, as proposed by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco), Sabal Trail Transmission LLC and Florida Southeast Connection LLC (FSC).

The Sabal Trail Project [CP15-17] -- by far the largest of the three that make up the SMP -- calls for constructing 515.5 miles of gas pipeline in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, including a 480.9-mile, 36-inch diameter mainline traversing all three states. It also calls for building two pipelines in Florida: a 21.5-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline called the Citrus County Line, and a 13.1-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline dubbed the Hunters Creek Line.

Sabal Trail -- a joint venture of Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy Inc. -- also plans to install five compressor stations -- in Tallapoosa County, AL; Dougherty County, GA; and Florida's Marion, Osceola and Suwannee counties. Subsequent modifications would be made to the two new stations in Dougherty and Suwannee (see Daily GPINov. 21, 2014).

Under the second project -- the Hillabee Expansion [CP15-16] -- Transco plans to build approximately 43.5 miles of new 42- and 48-inch diameter looping pipeline in Alabama, plus a new compressor station in Choctaw County, AL. Three existing compressor stations in Alabama's Chilton, Coosa and Dallas counties would be modified.

Transco has said Hillabee would be built in three phases, with the first phase coming online in May 2017. It added that a total of 1.13 million Dth/d of capacity could be added to the Transco system by May 2021 (see Daily GPINov. 19, 2014Nov. 5, 2013).

The third project -- the Florida Southeast Connection [CP14-554] -- calls for building approximately 126.4 miles of new 30- and 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline in Florida. The pipeline would have capacity of 640,000 Dth/d and would serve Florida Power & Light Co.'s Martin Clean Energy Center near Indiantown, FL, according to FSC, a unit of NextEra (see Daily GPI,Oct. 10, 2014).

All three projects call for the installation of pig launchers/receivers and mainline valves.

FERC said it has already received more than 1,000 public comments on the SMP during the pre-filing process. The Commission said it would accept public comments on the DEIS for all three projects within 45 days of the Environmental Protection Agency's Federal Register issuance date.

FERC also said it plans to hold 10 public hearings for the three projects in all three of the aforementioned states -- beginning at 6 p.m. EDT at the Albany Civic Center in Albany, GA, on Sept. 28, and ending at 6 p.m. EDT at the Bell High School Auditorium in Bell, FL, on Oct. 8.