Long under attack from New Jersey and environmental officials, Spectra Energy got good news Friday when the proposed expansion of its affiliate Texas Eastern Transmission and Algonquin Gas Transmission pipelines received a favorable final environmental impact statement (FEIS) at FERC, which put it one step away from receiving a certificate.

"If the project is approved, constructed and operated, the proposed facilities would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with implementation of Texas Eastern Transmission LP's and Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC's proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended in the EIS," concluded the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and other cooperating agencies: The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York City Mayor's Office and New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The proposed expansion of the two Spectra Energy pipeline systems would allow for the delivery of 800,000 Dth/d of natural gas to Consolidated Edison Co. to serve high-growth markets in New Jersey and New York. The expansion would extend from Linden, NJ, to Manhattan's West Village via Staten Island and Jersey City. The project is targeted for in-service in the second half of 2013.

The expansion has been opposed by top officials in New Jersey -- Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. William Pascrell (D-NJ) and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy -- but it has received solid support in New York (see NGI, Jan. 24, 2011).

The City of New York, however, has supported the project since its inception. "New York City is highly dependent on electricity, and on the infrastructure and fuels that support it," a staff member for Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote to FERC in early 2011 [CP11-56]. "To remain the preeminent financial, corporate and communications center in the world, New York must have reliable sources of electricity. As approximately 90% of the generating capacity in the city uses natural gas as its primary fuel, there is a very close relationship between the availability of natural gas and the city's ability to ensure adequate and affordable electricity."

The $850 million project calls for the construction of about 20 miles of new and replacement pipeline, ranging in size from 30 to 42 inches in diameter; the abandonment of nine miles of existing pipeline; modification of four existing compressor stations; the addition of seven metering and regulating stations and associated facilities [CP11-56].

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