NY Municipality Urges FERC to Shelve Millennium Application

With the withdrawal of pipeline projects upstream of Millennium in Canada by some of the pipeline's sponsors, the Town of Cortlandt, NY, has asked FERC to hold the application for the 442-mile U.S. pipeline in abeyance until the project's sponsors can explain the situation.

TransCanada PipeLines and St. Clair Pipelines, which together own a 37% stake in Millennium, withdrew their applications from the National Energy Board (NEB) last week for a 110-mile upstream pipeline that would link Millennium to the Dawn Hub in Ontario (see NGI, Aug. 27). However, they retained the option to re-file an application "if and when appropriate."

They said the action was prompted in part by the continuing regulatory delays with the U.S. project. "Unfortunately, the FERC did not issue a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and consequent order on Millennium Pipeline Company LP's certificate application before the end of July," as was hoped, they told the NEB. The timing for an FEIS and certificate order was thrown into further doubt last month when FERC agreed to hold a "public comment meeting" on the proposed project's route in Westchester County, NY, which has been the center of controversy for more than a year.

The Town of Cortlandt told FERC the withdrawal of the Canadian portion of the project changes the project's purpose and requires an inquiry. "In light of TransCanada's and St. Clair's withdrawal, Millennium's statements regarding strong market demand, commitment to the pipeline project and access to supplies may be completely unfounded," it said. "As a result, FERC cannot have a complete understanding of the proposed pipeline project, particularly regarding public convenience and necessity, until the impacts to the pipeline project resulting from the changed circumstances are addressed." It also noted that FERC must require Millennium to update its information regarding any proposed connection with Canadian facilities "or lack thereof."

The Town of Cortlandt requests that FERC cease processing Millennium's application, demand that the sponsors come forward with details regarding the changes to the project and hold a public hearing on these issues.

The Millennium project would bring 714 MMcf/d of natural gas from Canada under Lake Erie to the New York metropolitan area. Sponsors include Columbia Gas Transmission, Westcoast (St. Clair affiliate), MCN Energy Group and TransCanada.

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