Central New York Oil and Gas Co.'s (CNYOG) proposed MARC-I Hub Line Project, which would deliver additional Marcellus Shale and Trenton Black River natural gas to Northeast markets, may not be needed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A favorable environmental assessment of the MARC-I Hub Line Project recently issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) (see Shale Daily, June 2) "does not clearly explain to the public why the existing gas pipeline distribution network is not sufficient for providing access to interstate markets for Marcellus Shale natural gas, and why a new pipeline on new alignment through largely undeveloped and forested land needs to be constructed," EPA said in a recent filing with FERC [CP10-480].

"It is difficult to understand why natural gas distribution could not be accomplished in the absence of the MARC I Line," EPA said.

The project, which is estimated to cost $200 million, calls for the construction of a 39-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline in three counties in northeastern Pennsylvania -- Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming -- as well as well as the installation of a 15,300-hp Northern Compressor Unit at CNYOG's NS2 Compressor Station in Bradford County, and a 16,360-hp Southern Compressor Unit at CNYOG's M1-S Compressor Station in Sullivan County (see Daily GPI, Aug. 10, 2010). The project would have approximately 550,000 Dth/d of firm capacity, and is targeted for service in the fall of 2012, according to the company.

The proposed MARC-I Hub gas transmission line would connect to Tennessee Gas Pipeline's 300 Line and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line's Leidy Line, as well as existing Stagecoach laterals that tie in with Millennium Pipeline. The project would clear the way for gas produced in the northeastern Pennsylvania counties to be stored at CNYOG's Stagecoach Gas Storage facility near Oswego, NY.

EPA also said it was concerned about "potentially significant impacts to the environment and public health" that could come with construction of the MARC-I Hub Line. "No matter how effective the best management practices and mitigation measures are, the construction of this pipeline triggers questions about effects on water quality, aquatic resources, air quality, wildlife and their habitat and forested landscapes, among other environmental and cultural values," EPA said in its filing.