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Northeast Pipe Project Wins Supplemental Environmental Nod

FERC has issued a draft supplemental environmental approval of a Northeast pipeline project proposed by Millennium Pipeline, Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., Empire State Pipeline and Empire Pipeline Inc., Algonquin Gas Transmission and Iroquois Gas Transmission System that would deliver supplies to the natural gas-hungry markets in New York, New Jersey and New England.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that the Northeast Project, with "appropriate mitigating measures, as recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact."

The project calls for the construction of natural gas pipelines and associated above-ground facilities to augment the delivery of gas to markets in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is an alternative to, and a scaled-down version of, the proposed Millennium Pipeline, which FERC approved in September 2002 but was never constructed due to opposition. The latest draft environmental approval supplements the final environmental impact statement that was issued for the Millennium project in 2002.

The Northeast Project is an amalgamation of five projects: Millennium Pipeline's Phase I project; Columbia's Line A-5 Replacement project; Empire's Connector project; Algonquin's Ramapo Expansion project; and Iroquois Gas Transmission's MarketAccess project.

The Millennium Pipeline Phase I project calls for the construction of about 181 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline from Corning, NY, to Ramapo, NY, as well as the acquisition of pipeline facilities from Columbia.

The Columbia project entails the abandonment in place and by removal of nearly 170 miles of its Line A-5 pipeline in New York. Millennium would remove Columbia's pipeline when its installs its line in the same location. The project also includes the abandonment by sale of nearly 70 miles of Columbia's Line A-5 Line pipeline to Millennium. In addition, Columbia proposes to replace 8.8 miles of eight- and 16-inch diameter segments of its Line A-5 pipeline with a larger 30-inch diameter pipeline in Orange and Rockland Counties, NY.

The Empire Connector project includes the construction of 78 miles of 24-inch pipeline and associated facilities from Victor, NY, to interconnect with the Millennium Pipeline at its proposed Corning Compressor Station, as well as a new compressor station in Oakfield, NY.

Algonquin Gas is seeking to build 4.9 miles of pipeline to replace its existing 26-inch diameter mainline with a 42-inch diameter pipeline and associated facilities in New York, along with additional compression. The Iroquois MarketAccess project would modify the pipeline's certificate issued in October 2002 for a 10,000 horsepower compressor station at Brookfield, CT. Instead, the pipeline is proposing to build a 7,700 hp transfer compressor station at the Brookfield site.

The proposed Northeast Project would enable:

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