PennEast Pipeline Co. received “a significant state permit” with the issuance by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection of a Federal Clean Water Act-required water quality certification for the company’s proposed pipeline.

The “401 permit” approval by Pennsylvania follows a July finding of FERC that PennEast can be constructed with minimal effects on the environment. The water quality certification comes approximately two months before the anticipated April 7 issuance of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project.

Last month FERC staff pushed back the date for issuance of the final EIS to April 7, saying it needed more time to review the project. FERC staff determined in its initial environmental assessment that the pipeline would have minimal environmental impact.

Water quality certifications are required under the Federal Clean Water Act as a prerequisite to receiving a federal license or permit for activities that involve waterways. The certification acknowledges that PennEast has effective measures in place to minimize impacts on streams and other waterways during the construction, as well as long-term operation, of the pipeline.

The 114-mile, 36-inch diameter greenfield PennEast would transport 1.11 million Dth/d of eastern Marcellus Shale gas to markets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. About 990,000 Dth/d of that capacity is spoken for. New Jersey Natural Gas Co. is the largest taker with 180,000 Dth/d. PSEG Power LLC and Texas Eastern Transmission each have 125,000 Dth/d. South Jersey Gas. Co. has 105,000 Dth/d, and Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., Elizabethtown Gas, and UGI Energy Services LLC each have 100,000 Dth/d.

PennEast is a joint venture owned by AGL Resources Inc. unit Red Oak Enterprise Holdings Inc. (20%); New Jersey Resources’ NJR Pipeline Co. (20%); South Jersey Industries’ SJI Midstream LLC (20%); UGI Energy Services LLC’s UGI PennEast LLC (20%); PSEG Power LLC (10%); and Spectra Energy Partners LP (10%). The partnership is managed by UGI Energy Services.