The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied a motion for a stay and remand of its earlier orders authorizing construction of Guardian Pipeline, a 141-mile, 36-inch line designed to deliver up to 750 MMcf/d from the Chicago Hub near Joliet, IL, to southeastern Wisconsin.

The project also includes a 16-inch, 8.5-mile-long lateral to a point near Eagle, WI and a connection with a proposed Wisconsin Gas lateral. Wisconsin Gas had contracted for 650 MMcf/d of Guardian’s capacity.

A local group, Neighbors Standing United, had asked for the stay until their court challenge to the order is heard, saying the environment and landowners would suffer irreparable harm if construction is begun (see Daily GPI, July 25). The group has challenged FERC’s June 16, 2000 preliminary determination and its March 14 certificate orders in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

There will not be harm to the environment, the Commission said, citing its extensive environmental study of the project and mitigation measures incorporated in the certificate. Also, the Neighbors group failed to make the required challenges to FERC’s environmental measures in the group’s rehearing request.

As for the group’s concerns that construction of the pipeline could mean that farmers would not be able to work during prime planting and harvesting times, the Commission noted these are “theoretical,” not actual problems, and don’t warrant a stay. The farmers can work with Guardian sponsors to accommodate their needs in the construction schedule.

FERC stood by its original order approving the pipeline, saying that Guardian would “serve forecasted increases in market demand, provide sufficient long-term benefits to pipeline customers and ratepayers and increase electric reliability in the upper Midwest.”

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