Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP has asked a federal court in Connecticut to issue an order blocking the Town of Brookfield, CT, and two agencies from delaying the pipeline's construction of its portion of the reconfigured Millennium Pipeline project.

Iroquois is seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the town and the agencies -- Brookfield Inland Wetlands Commission and Brookfield Zoning Commission -- from interfering with or delaying the construction of the FERC-approved facilities, the pipeline informed FERC last Tuesday in a letter.

"Despite the FERC order [approving the project] -- which the town did not and can no longer appeal -- the town's municipal agencies have continued to oppose [Iroquois'] MarketAccess project by refusing to issue the appropriate local permits," Iroquois said in the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut last Monday.

"Because the MarketAccess project is regulated exclusively by FERC pursuant to the Natural Gas Act (NGA), the applicable state law is preempted and the defendants should be enjoined from attempting to enforce it," Iroquois told the court.

"Even if the regulation of natural gas transmission facilities was not preempted by federal law, Connecticut law restricts the authority of local inland wetlands and zoning commissions over 'public service companies' and prevents local authorities from regulating gas pipelines or related facilities."

Under the MarketAccess project, Iroquois plans to install 7,700 horsepower of new compression to transport 100,000 Dth/d of natural gas from Brookfield to New York City. This portion of the Northeast Project, or the reconfigured Millennium Pipeline, is estimated to cost $42 million.

The Northeast Project, which was approved by FERC in December 2006, is an amalgamation of five projects proposed by Millennium, Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., Empire State Pipeline and Empire Pipeline Inc., Algonquin Gas Transmission and Iroquois (see NGI, Dec. 25, 2006). The $1.04 billion project would deliver 250,000 Dth/d of gas to the New York City area in its first year of service, increasing to 300,000 Dth/d in its second year.

Iroquois' MarketAccess project is the smallest part of the overall Northeast Project. A binding precedent agreement with Consolidated Edison Co. requires the Iroquois facilities to be operational by Nov. 1, 2008 to deliver 100,000 Dth/d of gas from Brookfield to Con Ed's facilities in Hunt Points, NY, To meet this deadline, Iroquois told the court it would have to begin construction on or about Dec. 15.

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