FERC has issued an environmental assessment (EA) for a trio of projects to enable Texas Eastern Transmission LP (Tetco) to transport up to an additional 662,000 Dth/d of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales on its mainline from Pennsylvania to points in Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi.

On Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that the Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Extension projects [CP16-3] pose no significant impact to the environment, and it issued a list of 15 mitigation measures Tetco must follow before construction.

“We conclude that impacts associated with the projects would be relatively minor, and we are recommending additional measures to further reduce the environmental impacts associated with the project,” FERC’s Office of Energy Projects said in its 203-page EA document. “The impacts from other existing and proposed projects or general activities within the region of influence are also expected to be temporary and minor.

“Therefore, we anticipate that the proposed projects would contribute to a negligible to cumulative impact when the effects of the projects are added to past, present, and reasonably foreseeable projects in the region of influence.”

According to FERC records, the projects collectively call for constructing and maintaining 15.8 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline in Ohio’s Athens, Meigs, Monroe and Noble counties, and replacing a half mile of 16-inch diameter pipeline within Tetco’s existing right-of-way in Attala County, MS.

The projects also call for installing a 16,875-hp compressor unit at Tetco’s existing compressor station in Monroe County, KY, and modifying 12 existing compressor stations in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The modifications would allow for bidirectional flow capabilities and meter reversals along the system.

The Access South Project would provide up to 320,000 Dth/d of transport capacity from a receipt point in Uniontown, PA, to delivery points in Tetco’s Access Area Zone ELA and Market Zone M1 in Attala County. Interconnections with Gulf South Pipeline Co. LP and Southern Natural Gas Co. LLC would allow service to markets in the Southeast.

Meanwhile, the Adair Southwest Project would provide up to 200,000 Dth/d of transport capacity from Uniontown to delivery points in Tetco’s Market Zone M2 in Adair County, KY, and an interconnection with Columbia Gas Transmission LLC to serve markets in the Midwest. And the Lebanon Expansion Project would provide up to 102,000 Dth/d of transport capacity from Uniontown to delivery points in Market Zone M2 in or near Lebanon, OH.

Among the 15 conditions required prior to construction, Tetco must file updated correspondence with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) over the American burying beetle, including the potential need for surveys or additional mitigation measures. FERC must also complete any necessary consultation with the FWS regarding the beetle, as well as the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat. Tetco must also file with FERC any comments from the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office on avoiding two rock overhangs plus another site.

According to FERC, construction is expected to impact about 621.8 acres of land. Forest and woodland account for about 55% of the land affected for pipeline facilities, with 83.7 acres cleared for temporary workspace during construction and about 56.1 acres converted to a new permanent easement.

Last May, FERC announced it would prepare an EA for the three projects (see Shale Daily, May 20). The move went against the requests of several environmental groups, which wanted FERC to conduct a more detailed analysis (see Shale Daily, Sept. 14, 2015). The target in-service date for all of the projects is Nov. 1, 2017.