Milwaukee-based We Energies (formerly Wisconsin Energy Corp.) is delaying construction of a 38-mile natural gas lateral extension into the Guardian pipeline project until the spring of 2003, but Guardian will remain on schedule for an in-service date later this year, a spokeswoman said. We Energies is halting construction of the lateral through Jefferson and Waukesha counties until next year to resolve some permit and land acquisition issues.

Megan McCarthy, a We Energies spokeswoman, said the company would have a “better timeline” in two weeks to a month. She said there are “a lot of permits required,” and the land acquisition is taking longer than the company expected. However, she added that the Guardian project will remain on schedule, with construction of the overall project beginning this summer and an in-service date for late fall (see NGI, Feb. 25). Using an existing lateral connection and other interconnects on its system, We Energies still will be able to transport gas through Guardian, she said.

The delay is considered somewhat of a victory for Wisconsin landowners who have protested the path of the lateral and the Guardian line (see NGI, March 19, 2001). Landowners have filed several lawsuits challenging the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources because of the line’s approval. Two actions are pending in Waukesha County District Court, and one could be decided this summer.

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