Guardian Receives Final EIS
It appears the Guardian Pipeline project received what it wanted
for the holidays after all, even though it came a week or two late.
The pipeline cleared one of the larger regulatory hurdles, as the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff issued a Final
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project, deeming the
construction and operation of the 149-mile natural gas pipeline
from Joliet, IL, to Ixonia, WI, an acceptable environmental action.
The approval came as a shock to some after 2,500 names on a
petition were submitted by Wisconsin's Neighbors Standing United
(NSU) in protest of the project. The citizen group said the
proposed mainline and 8.5-mile lateral in Wisconsin would damage
their properties. In response, FERC Chairman James Hoecker said in
October that comments that identified issues not addressed in the
draft EIS, would be addressed in the final EIS.
Regardless, the FERC staff concluded, "that approval of the
proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures as
recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact."
Since the pipeline filed its application with FERC in November
1999, the final EIS is the third significant regulatory approval
Guardian has received. In June of last year, the project received
from FERC a Preliminary Determination that it would be in the
public interest, and shortly thereafter the FERC staff issued a
Draft EIS. Guardian's backers, CMS Energy, WICOR and Viking Gas,
believe that with the favorable final EIS, the project is now ripe
for FERC to issue a certificate of public convenience and
necessity, which the companies hope will be handed down within the
next month or so.
"We are pleased with the staff's strong confirmation that
Guardian Pipeline will have 'limited environmental impact' and will
be environmentally acceptable," said George C. Hass, Guardian
project manager. "From Guardian's very inception, we have stressed
the importance of environmental stewardship and our commitment to
landowners and communities. This finding acknowledges that
The project, which includes the construction of a 22,225 HP
Joliet Compressor Station, seven new meter stations, and eight
mainline valves is expected to be in service during November 2002.
Currently, Guardian has firm agreements with Wisconsin Gas and
others to transport 662 MMcf/d of natural gas, which equates to 88%
of its designed capacity, when the pipeline enters service.
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