Millennium Moves Another Step Closer

The 442-mile Millennium Pipeline project, which would bring 714 MMcf/d of gas to New York City from connections with the Canadian pipeline grid under Lake Erie, made progress last week when its highly contested route alternative in Westchester County, NY, gained the support of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), local citizens, elected officials and the pipeline's planners. However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) still must review all comments on the pipeline's supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS) before issuing a final EIS.

The parties reached a consensus on a portion of the project's route near New York City. The routing in Westchester County has been a major sticking point. The PSC and Consolidated Edison first objected to the pipe running in dangerous proximity to major power lines but then landowners fought against the alternatives (see Daily GPI, March 12).

"We applaud both the PSC and local citizens for the pragmatic and collaborative approach that led us to this mutually acceptable solution," Millennium Chairman David Pentzien said. "It has been our goal to advance responsible options for delivering energy to New York and the Northeast. After a lot of hard work, discussion and input from the public, Millennium and the PSC have embraced a consensus route."

The announcement came at a FERC hearing last Monday evening in Ossining, NY, on Millennium's Supplementary Draft EIS. In the SDEIS, FERC discussed two potential route alternatives through Westchester County. FERC's proposed "ConEd Offset" alternative suggested moving the pipeline from a public highway corridor (U.S. Route 9 and State Route 9A) to one that parallels an existing Consolidated Edison Co. power line corridor for seven miles and another existing highway corridor (the Taconic Parkway) in the county.

In its SDEIS, FERC staff noted that if the PSC and Millennium agreed to expand their Memorandum of Understanding regarding construction and operation of the pipeline near the power line, then the ConEd Offset alternative would help minimize impacts on several communities that had challenged the 9/9A route. This agreement has now been expanded to address these concerns and will be filed immediately, Pentzien said.

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