Some of the same environmental groups that have asked FERC to reconsider a May order approving Tennessee Gas Pipelines’ Northeast Upgrade Project have asked the agency to rescind its order approving Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) Northeast Supply Link project until a full environmental impact statement has been conducted.

In its November order giving the project the green light, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter, Food & Water Watch, Fight the Pipe and Clinton Township, NJ, claim the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order violated the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by providing an inadequate review of the cumulative impacts associated with the Transco project (see Shale Daily, Nov. 6).

The Northeast Supply Link project would provide additional firm transportation service from the Marcellus Shale to meet growing demand for natural gas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City. It would supply 250,000 Dth/d of incremental firm transportation capacity from supply interconnections on Transco’s Leidy Line in Pennsylvania to its 210 Market Pool in New Jersey and the Manhattan, Central Manhattan and Narrows delivery points in New York City.

“Because this project is a major construction project using right-of-ways in which there are no existing natural gas pipelines and the project will have significant effects on the environment, the Commission was required to prepare an environmental impact statement in order to comply with NEPA,” the environmental groups argued [CP12-30, PF11-4]. However, they noted that FERC opted for the less-inclusive environmental assessment (EA) of the project, issued in August, in which the results were favorable (see Shale Daily, Aug. 2).

The groups took issue with the fact that the FERC staff EA failed to review the impacts of increased Marcellus development resulting from the Transco project. “Despite the fact that the stated purpose of the project is to provide ‘access to new sources of natural gas in north-central Pennsylvania, primarily from the Marcellus Shale,’ and that companies such as the project applicant are ‘planning and building interstate transmission facilities in response to this new source of gas supply,’ the Commission argues in its order that the cumulative impacts analysis in the EA was sufficient to support a FONSI [finding of no significant impact].”

The Northeast Supply Link project involves constructing 13 miles of additional 42-inch diameter pipe segments, or loops, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and additional compression and existing facility modifications. The project is slated to be completed and in operation by next November.

In a separate case, the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, New Jersey Highlands Coalition and Delaware Riverkeeper Network Monday filed an emergency motion asking FERC to expedite consideration of their request for the agency to rehear a May order approving Tennessee’s Northeast Upgrade Project (see Shale Daily, Dec. 5). The groups allege the pipeline is “improperly segmenting” its expansion projects to avoid rigorous environmental reviews.

In the May order, the Commission approved the expansion of Tennessee’s existing 300 Line system in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to provide an additional 636,000 Dth/d of Marcellus gas to Northeast markets (see Shale Daily, May 31).