The FERC staff has indicated it may not be able to finish itsenvironmental review of the proposed New York-bound MillenniumPipeline in time for the Commission to issue a final certificate byJune 1, 1999, as the pipeline has requested. But even if this turnsout to be the case, project sponsor Columbia Gas Transmission saysit still intends to meet the planned in-service date of Nov. 1,2000. That would coincide with the start-up date for the AlliancePipeline.
Commission staff revealed the possibility of a delay at ameeting in late September with other federal and state agenciesthat was called to coordinate the environmental review of theMillennium project, according to a memo from one of theparticipating agencies, Interior Department’s Fish and WildlifeService (FWS). In a response filed with FERC earlier this month,Millennium said that it had submitted a “voluminous amount ofenvironmental information with the Commission” since that meeting,and “remains hopeful” that staff will issue a draft environmentalimpact statement (DEIS) in January 1999 and a final environmentalimpact statement (FEIS) next May.
Millennium asked the Commission for the early June 1certification date so that it could carry out what it considers tobe an environmentally preferable construction plan, which wouldentail the directional drilling of three river crossings in July1999 and the construction of other key segments of the project(including the Hudson River crossing) during optimum “window”periods in the following fall and winter seasons, it said.
“At this point in time, we’re committed to a Nov. 1, 2000in-service date, but we’re also committed to doing it in anenvironmentally responsible manner, And we’re trying to balancethose two objectives,” said David Pentzien, vice president ofmarket development for Columbia Gas Transmission and projectmanager for Millennium. “To the extent that we don’t get it [thecertificate by] June 1, that just means that we have to look atPlan B or Plan C” for constructing the pipeline, both of whichwould less favorable from an environmental standpoint.
The 422-mile proposed pipeline would extend from Lake Erie toWestchester County in New York, which includes the metropolitan NewYork City area. It would have a capacity of 700,000 Dth/d andultimately would connect to the Dawn Hub, providing an outlet forCanadian, Mid-continent and even Henry Hub gas to reach eastern gasmarkets.
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