TransCanada PipeLines has filed an application with the NationalEnergy Board (NEB) to build a 61-mile, 36-inch diameter pipelineacross Lake Erie. The line would provide the upstream supplyconnection for the proposed Millennium Pipeline project, whichwould extend to New York City.

“This application reflects our commitment to provide customerswith the downstream connections they need to take advantage oflucrative U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets,” said JohnCarruthers, vice-president of business development for TransCanadaEnergy Transmission.

The $161.8 million Lake Erie Crossing project would have aninitial capacity of 700 MMcf/d. It would connect St. Clair Pipelineat the northwestern shore of Lake Erie near Patrick Point, ON, toMillennium at a point beneath the waters of Lake Erie at theCanada-U.S. border. TransCanada said seven shippers have signedprecedent agreements and subscribed for almost all of thetransportation service along the Lake Erie Crossing.

The 442-mile, 36-inch Millennium Pipeline is proposed to extendfrom its point of origin in Lake Erie to Westchester County, NY.Millennium currently has an application before FERC and isrequesting approval in time to start operations by November 2000.FERC staff, however, indicated last month it may not be able tofinish its environmental review of the proposed New York-boundpipeline 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 theproject, according to a memo from one of the participatingagencies, Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Ina response filed with FERC in November, Millennium said it hadsubmitted a “voluminous amount of environmental information withthe Commission” since that meeting, and “remains hopeful” thatstaff will issue a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) inJanuary 1999 and a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) nextMay.

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.

Millennium sponsors include Columbia Gas Transmission, WestcoastEnergy, MCN Energy Group and TransCanada.

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