FERC Friday rejected requests for rehearing and a stay of its controversial decision approving Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC’s compressor station in the Town of Minisink, NY, which would boost the pipeline’s firm deliveries of Marcellus Shale gas by an additional 225,000 Dth/d to serve Northeast and New England markets.

A group known as the Minisink Residents for Environmental Preservation and Safety (MREPS) and other residents of the southern New York town had sought rehearing and a stay, arguing that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) July 17 order approving the compressor station failed to recognize the negative environmental and economic impacts of the project. Moreover, they said there was no “finding of need” for the project.

FERC noted that many of the same arguments were addressed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in October, when it denied MREPS’ request for an emergency stay of construction of the Minisink Compressor Station. The project went through a grueling approval process at the agency (see Shale Daily, June 21).

In its order denying the rehearing/stay requests, the Commission said that “based upon the strong showing of public benefits (i.e. the creation of capacity necessary to provide a demonstrated market access to additional volumes of natural gas from diverse sources) and the localized and relatively minimal, though not nonexistent, adverse impacts the project may have on the economic interests of landowners in the vicinity, [it] found and continues to find that, on balance…the Minisink Compressor Project will serve the public interest.”

Moreover, “even after performing the balancing urged by the rehearing applicants, we find that the public benefits of the proposed project outweigh the project’s minimal adverse impacts on both economic interests and the environment, thus supporting our finding in the July 17 order that the proposed project is required by the public convenience and necessity. Indeed, it is difficult to envision a sustainable basis for a Commission decision not to authorize a fully subscribed project that it has found to have no significant negative economic or environmental impacts,” the order said [CP11-515].

The Millennium project, which started construction in late August, will include two 6,130 hp gas-fired compressor units, a 36-inch diameter suction and discharge pipeline and associated facilities in Minisink to increase firm deliveries to approximately to 675,000 Dth/d to the eastern end of the Millennium pipeline, where it interconnects with Algonquin Gas Transmission. The project also will permit bidirectional gas flow on Millennium’s system between its existing compressor station at Corning, NY, and the proposed Minisink station.

Millennium estimated that the project will cost $43.6 million. It said the project is fully supported by precedent agreements for long-term firm transportation, at negotiated rates, with two anchor shippers and one additional shipper.

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