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Millennium Vows to Meet Nov. 2000 In-Service Date

November 23, 1998
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Millennium Vows to Meet Nov. 2000 In-Service Date

The FERC staff has indicated it may not be able to finish its environmental review of the proposed New York-bound Millennium Pipeline in time for the Commission to issue a final certificate by June 1, 1999, as the pipeline has requested. But even if this turns out to be the case, project sponsor Columbia Gas Transmission says it still intends to meet the planned in-service date of Nov. 1, 2000. That would coincide with the start-up date for the Alliance Pipeline.

Commission staff revealed the possibility of a delay at a meeting in late September with other federal and state agencies that was called to coordinate the environmental review of the Millennium project, according to a memo from one of the participating agencies, Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In a response filed with FERC earlier this month, Millennium said that it had submitted a "voluminous amount of environmental information with the Commission" since that meeting, and "remains hopeful" that staff will issue a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) in January 1999 and a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) next May.

Millennium asked the Commission for the early June 1 certification date so that it could carry out what it considers to be an environmentally preferable construction plan, which would entail the directional drilling of three river crossings in July 1999 and the construction of other key segments of the project (including the Hudson River crossing) during optimum "window" periods in the following fall and winter seasons, it said.

"At this point in time, we're committed to a Nov. 1, 2000 in-service date, but we're also committed to doing it in an environmentally responsible manner, And we're trying to balance those two objectives," said David Pentzien, vice president of market development for Columbia Gas Transmission and project manager for Millennium. "To the extent that we don't get it [the certificate by] June 1, that just means that we have to look at Plan B or Plan C" for constructing the pipeline, both of which would less favorable from an environmental standpoint.

The 422-mile proposed pipeline would extend from Lake Erie to Westchester County in New York, which includes the metropolitan New York City area. It would have a capacity of 700,000 Dth/d and ultimately would connect to the Dawn Hub, providing an outlet for Canadian, Mid-continent and even Henry Hub gas to reach eastern gas markets.

Susan Parker

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