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Citizen Group Pads Petition Against Guardian?
Only a fraction of the names listed on a citizen group’s petition citing concerns with the proposed Guardian Pipeline LLC and associated Wisconsin Gas lateral are landowners that would be affected by the construction of the projects, the companies said.
Of the 2,500 names on a petition submitted by Wisconsin’s Neighbors Standing United (NSU), Guardian officials told FERC that only 27 of the names “correspond to landowners whose property…..is actually affected by or adjacent to the proposed Guardian pipeline route.” For Wisconsin Gas, “only on the order of 43” are bona fide landowners whose property is affected or is nearby the proposed route of its lateral, the LDC said [CP00-36].
But NSU contends the names represent affected or adjacent landowners. “We are not surprised that Guardian and Wisconsin Gas are having trouble identifying adjacent and affected landowners,” it said in response to the Guardian and Wisconsin claims. “This has apparently been an ongoing problem for them, as we frequently hear from [landowners] who have found out from neighbors that their land is affected by the Guardian project.”
NSU filed the petition independently at FERC, but it also was attached to a joint letter sent by three Wisconsin congressmen — Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Herbert H. Kohl and Rep. Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin citizen group urged the Commission to hold evidentiary hearings to address issues associated with the environmental review of the Guardian pipeline project. The Capitol Hill lawmakers, however, simply requested that FERC provide them with information regarding the circumstances under which it would hold evidentiary hearings in pipeline application cases.
In separate letters to the congressmen, FERC Chairman James Hoecker said evidentiary hearings were not “conducted routinely as part of our environmental review” of pipeline projects. “To put this in perspective, of the 17 environmental impact statements (EIS) the Commission has issued for natural gas projects in the last five years, none have involved evidentiary hearings.”
However, he conceded “it is possible that some comments submitted [by NSU] as part of the Notice of Intent were inadvertently left out of [the draft EIS]. Currently, our staff is in the process of reviewing the comments on the draft EIS. Should any comments identify issues not addressed in the draft EIS, those issues will be addressed in the final EIS.”
The Guardian project, which received a preliminary determination this summer, would provide pipeline-on-pipeline competition to the Wisconsin market for the first time. The market has long been dominated by ANR Pipeline. As part of the project, Wisconsin Gas has proposed an intrastate lateral in Wisconsin to connect its existing distribution facilities to the proposed Guardian line.
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