Favorable rulings on the MarketLink and Independence Pipelineprojects at the Dec. 15 FERC meeting are “absolutely critical topreserve any realistic opportunity” for the proposed facilities tobe built and operating by the targeted November 2000 deadline, saysa senior official at Williams Gas Pipelines – Transco.

“Any slippage in this schedule will seriously jeopardizeTransco’s ability to satisfy the requirements” of the finalenvironmental impact statement (FEIS), wrote Cuba Wadlington Jr.,senior vice president and general manager, in a letter to ChairmanJames Hoecker and the other Commissioners. The FEIS was favorableto the MarketLink expansion and greenfield Independence projects,as well as to the SupplyLink expansion. Transco is sole sponsor ofMarketLink and co-sponsor of Independence.

“Transco has been willing to undertake significant financialrisks by ordering equipment and purchasing right-of-way to keep theproject on schedule for Nov. 1, 2000. However, [it] is now in aposition where it must make binding financial commitments topurchase the remaining pipe and compressors for the MarketLinkproject in order to maintain the project schedule,” he said.

Wadlington reminded the Commission that it made a commitmentlast March to issue a final decision on these project by fall 1999.”Transco has planned its financial decisions related to this[MarketLink] project in anticipation of a Commission decision basedon this commitment.”

FERC “has leaned over backwards to accommodate” all parties inthe MarketLink and Independence proceedings, and in the end “theseprojects have met every test,” Wadlington noted. “The time is ripeand the record is complete for a decision in these proceedings.”For these reasons, “I plead with you to issue certificates ofpublic convenience and necessity approving the Independence andMarketLink projects at the Commission’s Dec. 15th meeting.”

Susan Parker

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