Acting in concert with a stay issued by the InteriorDepartment’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, the Federal EnergyRegulatory Commission has ordered Southern Natural Gas to stop itsrecently-begun construction work in a wildlife preserve along itsmainline expansion route into northern Alabama.

The latest in the marathon case (CP96-153) to authorize a secondpipeline supplier for the towns of Huntsville and Decatur, AL, cameafter landowners protesting the project successfully stayed a Fishand Wildlife Service (FWS) ruling allowing construction through theWheeler National Wildlife Refuge. A letter order then was issued byFERC’s Office of Pipeline Regulation halting construction work inthe wildlife refuge until the FWS complaint (D99-18) is resolved.

Veteran environmentalist Anne Marie Mueser and the GASP Coalition,which is opposing the 120-mile, 70 MMcf/d Southern Natural extension,have asked FERC to halt construction on other segments of the pipelineuntil the wildlife complaint-which has sparked a jurisdictionaldispute within the Interior Dept.-is resolved. The stays onenvironmental grounds came after FERC overruled opposition by MidcoastInterstate Transmission, the current supplier of the two Alabama townsand authorized the Southern Natural extension. (See Daily GPI, Jan. 28, 1999) The coalition hasappealed the FERC order in the D.C. Circuit Court.

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