FERC issued an updated schedule Thursday for its environmental review of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline expansion planned by Williams Partners’ Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco).

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a filing posted to the project docket [CP15-138] that it now plans to issue the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Atlantic Sunrise on Dec. 30, putting the 90-day federal authorization decision deadline at March 30, 2017.

FERC had originally planned to release the final EIS this week but said Thursday that “based on additional information filed by Transco…we intend to issue a draft general conformity determination for the Atlantic Sunrise Project with a 30-day comment period,” necessitating a delay.

Atlantic Sunrise would provide an incremental 1.7 million Dth/d of year-round firm transportation capacity from the Marcellus Shale production area in northern Pennsylvania to Transco’s existing market areas, extending to the Station 85 Pooling Point in Choctaw County, AL.

The project would involve about 197.7 miles of pipeline, including 184 miles of new 30- and 42-inch diameter pipe for its CPL North and CPL South greenfield segments in Pennsylvania.

Last week, FERC requested public comments on two route alternatives for the CPL North and CPL South segments, causing heartburn for Williams and anchor shipper Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., whose stocks took a hit when news of the filing spread and the market began to speculate on the possibility of a delay (see Daily GPI, Oct. 14).

Atlantic Sunrise would offer a major source of new takeaway for capacity-constrained Marcellus producers, but like other Northeast pipeline projects, the expansion has encountered organized opposition during the regulatory process. A coalition of environmental groups last week asked FERC to prepare a revised draft EIS for the project and conduct an additional public comment period (see Daily GPI, Oct. 11).

FERC issued a favorable draft EIS for Atlantic Sunrise in May (see Daily GPI, May 6).