Ohio and Pennsylvania landowners have called on FERC to impose adeadline by which the multi-state Independence Pipeline and ANRPipeline’s SupplyLink expansion must submit long-term contracts tojustify the need for their respective projects.

In a mid-December interim order, the Commission had directed thetwo Northeast-bound projects to provide long-term, non-affiliatecontracts for at least 35% of their capacity prior to beingcertificated, but it didn’t impose a deadline for the parties tofurnish the information. The Ohio Pennsylvania LandownersAssociation (OPLA) has asked the Commission to set Feb. 15 as thecut-off point for both Independence and SupplyLink [CP97-319,CP97-315].

“Landowners do not understand why a time limit was not imposedfor Independence,” whose application has been pending at FERC fornearly three years, the association said. It called forIndependence and SupplyLink to be “issued an ultimatum to provideevidence of long-term contracts …..within a certain reasonabletime period such as 60 days from the date” of the interim order,which was issued in draft form on Dec. 15.

Moreover, “we request that a verification, documentation andsubstantiation of all contracts be conducted by the FERC staff andthat copies of all documents be forwarded to the secretary of theOPLA,” the landowner association said. “We further request that[the] OPLA be granted sufficient time to examine such documentsbefore they are formally accepted by FERC into the certificationdecision-making process.”

The OPLA also seeks a delay in the certification of Independenceand SupplyLink, as well as the associated MarketLink project inPennsylvania and New Jersey, until an “impartial and independent”supplemental final environmental impact statement (FEIS) can beprepared, as was initially requested by Texas Eastern Transmission(Tetco).

Tetco sought the supplemental FEIS after FERC staff issued theFEIS approving Independence and the two associated projects, andrejecting all proposed system alternatives — including Tetco’s.Tetco contends it has or will have enough turned-back capacity onits system (950,000 Dth/d) to meet the customer needs ofIndependence and part of MarketLink. While FERC staff calledTetco’s alternative “environmental (and economically) attractive,”it said it didn’t meet the goals of Independence and MarketLinkwith respect to volume and timing.

But OPLA contends the targeted fall 2000 timeframe forIndependence to be in-service “is completely impossible toachieve.” Moreover, while the proposed capacity of Independence is1 Bcf/d (slightly more than Tetco’s 950,000 Dth/d of turned-backcapacity), only 68.6% of Independence’s maximum summer capacity isunder contract, 55% of which is with an affiliate, the associationnoted.

“While the rated capacity of a pipeline is important, the actualuse of the pipeline, the current subscribed capacity, would be asignificantly more important comparative for any alternativeproject,” the OPLA told FERC.

In short, the goals of Independence “should not necessarily haveto met by an alternative [such as Tetco’s] because, as theCommission has found, the sponsors have not been able to show truebinding contracts for their project,” the association argued.

The OPLA said it also supports the Tetco alternative because itwould result in less environmental disturbance. With respect toIndependence and the associated projects, the Commission is”falsely assuming” that the environmental damage can be”successfully mitigated.”

The multi-state SupplyLink, Independence and MarketLink projectswould transport natural gas from the Chicago hub to the East Coast.SupplyLink, which is sponsored by ANR, would be an upstreamexpansion of ANR’s existing system to Defiance, OH. From there, theproposed greenfield Independence line would extend nearly 600 milesto the Leidy Hub in Pennsylvania. Independence is sponsored by ANR,Natual Fuel Gas Supply Corp. and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line.From Leidy, the MarketLink project would expand Transco’s existingsystem in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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