The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted out a final ruleyesterday that will give property owners affected by proposedpipeline construction greater participation in the certificateprocess.

Ironically, the rule was approved on the same day that scores oflandowners from New Jersey and Ohio came to FERC’s Washington, DC,headquarters in buses to either oppose or support the proposedIndependence and MarketLink pipeline projects, which were thesubject of a half-day conference.

The rule will require pipelines to notify affected landowners inwriting within three days of either filing a project application atFERC or a docket being assigned. The notice must contain a detaileddescription of the proposed project, including the purpose andtiming of the project, specific contacts to obtain moreinformation, as well as maps of the project.

Additionally, the rule widens the definition of “affected”landowner to include “not only [those] whose property is actuallycrossed or used, but also landowners [who] own property thatadjoins or abuts the proposed route…,” said Commissioner WilliamMassey. He called this a “common-sense recognition that landownerand environmental concerns extend somewhat beyond the actualcorridors of the project.”

Moreover, the rule also would give pipelines greater flexibilityand expedite the certificate process by expanding the list ofprojects that won’t require preparation of an environmentalassessment, as well as expanding the types of pipeline-relatedactivities that will be covered under blanket constructioncertificates.

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