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Algonquin Wins AIM Project Eminent Domain Case in Massachusetts

A federal judge in Massachusetts has given Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC the right to take control of parts of three streets in a Boston neighborhood that the company needs to build a section of its Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge William Young ruled that Algonquin, a unit of Spectra Energy Partners LP, can take possession of parts of three streets -- Centre Street, Grove Street and Washington Street -- in the West Roxbury neighborhood.

"It is the duty of this court to enforce and give effect to the FERC certificate," Young said, according to the Boston Herald. "Algonquin has established given the present [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] certificate, [that] it has a right to an immediate taking of an easement."

According to court documents in the eminent domain case [1:15-cv-12870-WGY], Algonquin had been unable to acquire the necessary permanent and temporary easements for working under the three streets from the city's Public Improvement Commission (PIC). Algonquin received FERC authorization for the AIM Project [CP14-96] last March (see Daily GPIMarch 4).

Bonnie McGilpin, press secretary for Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, told NGI on Thursday that the city is disappointed with Young's ruling and is evaluating its options.

"Since the moment the FERC decision was issued, Mayor Walsh has remained committed to advancing the concerns of the residents of West Roxbury and fighting for an efficient and transparent review of the permitting that was approved by a federal agency affecting the streets of Boston."

Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra, told NGI on Thursday that the company “will reserve comment until after the court issues the final order.”

The AIM Project is designed to carry 342,000 Dth/d of natural gas originating in the Marcellus and Utica shales from Ramapo, NY, to citygates in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Algonquin plans to install 4.1 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline and 0.8 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline in West Roxbury and in the towns of Westwood and Dedham, MA.

According to Algonquin, the approximate aggregate areas of the easements in the three aforementioned streets include 170,197 cubic feet and 8,248 linear feet for the permanent easement, and 652,489 square feet for the temporary easement.

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