Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Rep. Christopher Murphy sent a letter to FERC Monday protesting a portion of Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP’s expansion that would provide increased natural gas supplies to Long Island and New York City.

“The Iroquois Expansion project could significantly and negatively impact the town of Brookfield, CT,” Lieberman, an Independent, and Murphy, a Democrat, told FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher.

Specifically, the two lawmakers oppose the placement of a second compressor station near a middle school in the town. The middle school already is located approximately 2,000 feet from an Iroquois compressor station, which the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved in December 2006.

Approval of a second compressor station would place the school “within several hundred feet of a potential life-threatening catastrophe,” Lieberman and Murphy wrote. In addition, “any breach of the large amount of pipeline liquids [that] Iroquois Gas plans to store on the site could compromise drinking water for the surrounding area,” they said.

“Given the potential negative impact…we are requesting that FERC deny Iroquois Gas’ application for a second compressor station. Additionally, if the Commission should approve the second compressor station, it should require a moratorium on any future construction and development,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Iroquois Gas did not disclose its intention to build a second compressor in proximity of the Whisconier Middle School and the surrounding residential area when applying for the first compressor station. The safety and security of…students and the families who reside within the vicinity of the site should not be further compromised by additional development.”

In early January FERC gave the Iroquois expansion project a favorable environmental review (see Daily GPI, Jan. 7). “Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” FERC staff said in its environmental assessment (EA) of the expansion project [CP07-457].

Iroquois proposes to loop its existing pipeline system in three locations in New York and Connecticut by Nov. 1 (Phase 1); construct a new compressor station in Milford, CT, with 20,620 hp of compression by Jan. 1, 2009 (Phase 2); and add a 10,310-hp compressor unit to Iroquois’ Brookfield Compressor Station in Brookfield, CT, by Nov. 1, 2009 (Phase 3).

The second Brookfield compressor at the center of the controversy is designed to act as a substitute for the stalled Connecticut-to-Long Island Islander East Pipeline project, enabling Iroquois to deliver 200,000 Dth/d to KeySpan Gas East Corp. at South Commack on Long Island that the Islander East Pipeline would have delivered.

With these facilities, Iroquois would act as a middleman between Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC and KeySpan. Algonquin has entered into a precedent agreement with KeySpan to deliver 175,000 Dth/d of firm service effective Nov. 1 and an additional 25,000 Dth/d commencing Nov. 1, 2009, the FERC EA said. The volumes would be delivered by Algonquin to Iroquois at Brookfield for subsequent delivery by Iroquois to KeySpan to serve the New York City and Long Island markets, Iroquois said.

Because the pressure in the Iroquois mainline is substantially higher than the pressure in the Algonquin pipeline at Brookfield, Iroquois currently is only able to deliver gas into, but not receive gas from, the Algonquin system. The proposed expansion would allow Iroquois to receive gas from Algonquin.

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