Constitution Pipeline, designed to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale to New York and New England markets, has been given the green light by FERC to begin construction.

Assuming regulatory approvals are received as expected, construction should begin before the end of March, with service “by the winter of 2015 or 2016,” the sponsors said. Constitution is owned by subsidiaries of Williams Partners LP, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the proposed pipeline construction on Tuesday, subject to certain conditions that would ensure natural resources are protected, according to Constitution Pipeline LLC. FERC two months ago gave its approval to the final environmental impact statement (EIS) (see Shale Daily, Oct. 24).

The 30-inch diameter pipeline is to traverse 124 miles beginning in northeastern Pennsylvania. It would connect with existing transmission pipelines in Schoharie County, NY. Earlier this year, Constitution and Leatherstocking Gas Co. LLC announced plans to install four delivery taps along the proposed route to facilitate local gas service to homes and businesses in southern New York and northern Pennsylvania (see Shale Daily, March 19). The pipeline is designed to transport enough gas to serve about three million homes.

The EIS assessed the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and concluded that environmental impacts would be reduced to “less than significant levels” by implementing some mitigation measures.

“Once in service, the Constitution Pipeline will provide critical access to new, domestic sources of natural gas, bolstering supply reliability and contributing toward stabilization of the prices consumers pay for energy,” the pipeline sponsors noted. “Now that FERC has issued its order, we look forward to receiving the remaining approvals we need to begin construction on this pipeline so that we can deliver much-needed additional natural gas supply to New York and New England as quickly as possible.”