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Federal Agencies Want More Time to Evaluate Constitution Pipeline DEIS

The size and complexity of the Constitution Pipeline and Wright Interconnect projects has prompted the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ask FERC to extend the comment period for the associated draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).

"Due to a paucity of key review staff at this immediate time, combined with the large geographic scope of the project, intricate nature of its elements, and copious documentation, EPA is requesting an extension of at least 15 days and up to 30 days to provide comments on the draft EIS," EPA said in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday.

The comment period is due to end Monday (April 7).

DOI said in its filing that it needed an additional 30 days to prepare comments "due to several factors, including but not limited to the size and complexity of the proposed project and its DEIS."

FERC issued the DEIS last month for the projects (Nos. CP13-499-000 and CP13-502-000), which were proposed by Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC and Iroquois Gas Transmission, respectively (see Shale Daily, Feb. 13). FERC concluded in the DEIS that the projects would have adverse environmental impacts that could be mitigated.

The proposed Constitution Pipeline would a 124.4-mile, 30-inch diameter gas line originating in Susquehanna County, PA, and terminating in Schoharie County, NY, where it would interconnect with the Iroquois and Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) systems (see Shale Daily, June 17, 2013). Constitution also includes two new metering and regulating (M&R) stations, two tie-ins and 11 mainline valves. A pig launcher and a pig receiver would be installed at the M&R stations.

Meanwhile, Iroquois has proposed building and operating compressor facilities adjacent to its existing Wright compressor station. Both projects would deliver up to 650,000 Dth/d to the Iroquois and TGP systems for eventual delivery to markets in New York and New England.

Constitution and Iroquois simultaneously filed their applications with FERC last year, after the two companies reached an agreement for Iroquois to expand the Wright compressor station, thereby eliminating the need for Constitution to build a compressor station in Schoharie (see Shale Daily, Jan. 22, 2013).

Iroquois and TGP have penned a 15-year capacity lease agreement with Constitution.

Constitution is owned by subsidiaries of Williams Partners LP, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and WGL Holdings (see Shale Daily, June 3, 2013). Constitution and Iroquois had proposed beginning construction for their projects in 2Q2014 and 3Q2014, respectively, and were planning to enter both projects into service by March 2015.

Last month, Williams CEO Alan Armstrong said the blame for delays on the Constitution project are the fault of the New York Department of Conservation, and not federal regulators (see Shale Daily, Feb. 20).

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