FERC has given an environmental nod to Northern Natural Gas pipeline’s proposed expansion and extension of its transportation system in Minnesota and Iowa.

“Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” FERC staff said in the environmental assessment of the Northern Natural project.

The so-called Northern Lights Expansion calls for the construction of 67 miles of pipeline loops and extensions (mostly in Minnesota), seven miles of pipeline replacement segments in Minnesota and a five-mile greenfield line in Minnesota, as well as the abandonment and removal of 16 miles of 16-inch diameter pipe in the state. Northern Natural also proposes to modify an existing compressor station, construct two town border stations (TBSs) and modify 23 existing TBSs and regulator stations [CP06-403].

The project would result in an estimated incremental peak-day firm delivery of 374, 225 Dth/d in Northern Natural’s market area, the MidAmerican Energy-owned pipeline said. The bulk of the expansion is targeted for in-service on Nov. 1, 2007. A small part of the project would be constructed in 2008 for in-service on Nov. 1 of that year.

The proposed expansion would serve increased markets for electric power generation, ethanol production, and agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential use, Northern Natural said.

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