The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Wednesday issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) of Equitrans LP’s proposed expansion of its natural gas pipeline system that would deliver Marcellus Shale gas to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

“Approval of the project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” FERC staff concluded in the EA on Equitrans’ Sunrise Pipeline project [CP11-68].

The Sunrise project calls for the construction of facilities in Greene County, PA, and Wetzel County, WV, including 44.4 miles of small-diameter pipeline; one new compressor station in Jefferson Township in Greene County; five interconnect sites; and other facilities.

The project would increase Equitrans’ capacity to the Northeast by about 313,560 Dth/d, according to the FERC notice.

Pending approval by FERC, Pittsburgh-based Equitrans said it expects to begin construction of the Sunrise line this summer, with in-service targeted for the summer of 2012.