FERC staff Friday issued a favorable draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) proposal to build a $182 million expansion of its system to meet growing natural gas demand in New York City and the Rockaways with Marcellus Shale gas supplies.

“The proposed facilities would result in some adverse environmental impacts. However, these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Transco’s proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended in the draft EIS,” the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.

Transco filed the application in January to provide an additional 647,000 Dth/d of natural gas to New York City and the Rockaways. The expansion of Transco’s system is targeted for service in the second half of 2014. The proposed 3.2-mile, 26-inch diameter Rockaway Delivery Lateral would consist of 2.9 miles of offshore pipeline and 0.3 miles of onshore pipeline, as well as additional compression facilities. The small pipeline would pass under Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways portion of Queens and under Jamaica Bay to a new meter and regulator station on Floyd Bennett Field (a decommissioned airfield) in Brooklyn.

“The project would create an additional delivery point from the existing Transco system into National Grid’s distribution network,” said Frank Ferazzi, general manager of Williams Partners’ Transco pipeline. The facilities would interconnect with a 26-inch diameter lateral that National Grid is proposing to construct.

Both Jacob Riis Park and Floyd Bennett Field are part of the Gateway National Recreation Center, which was created by Congress in 1972 to preserve and protect scarce and unique cultural and recreational resources. It is owned by the U.S. government and managed by the National Park Service. The recreation center spans 26,607 acres in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, NY, and Monmouth County, NJ.

 In November, President Obama signed a bill allowing for the construction and operation of the Transco expansion facilities in the New York portion of the Gateway National Recreation Center.