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FERC OK’s Constitution Pipeline New England Project

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Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC has received federal approval to build its proposed pipeline to increase natural gas supply to New York and New England markets.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Dec. 2 issued its certificate of public convenience and necessity for the 124-mile, 30-in. Constitution Pipeline, subject to certain conditions to ensure the protection of natural resources. Assuming timely receipt of all remaining necessary regulatory approvals, Constitution Pipeline would begin construction as early as the first quarter next year to help meet growing natural gas demand in New York and New England by the winter of 2015 or 2016.

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“We’re pleased that the FERC has approved construction on this key piece of natural gas infrastructure to the U.S. Northeast after a long and comprehensive review of this project,” the project sponsors said in a joint statement. “Once in service, the Constitution Pipeline will provide critical access to new, domestic sources of natural gas, bolstering supply reliability and contributing toward stabilization of the prices consumers pay for energy.”

In New York and New England, insufficient natural gas pipeline infrastructure last winter had the effect of exposing consumers to high natural gas prices and, as a result, significantly higher electric-power costs. The Constitution Pipeline is designed to enhance New York’s natural gas supply options through an interconnect with the existing Iroquois Pipeline, and it will supply New England markets through an interconnect with the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

“Now that FERC has issued its order, we look forward to receiving the remaining approvals we need to begin construction on this pipeline so that we can deliver much-needed additional natural gas supply to New York and New England as quickly as possible,” the project sponsors said.

On Oct. 24, FERC published its final environmental review of the proposed pipeline. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) assessed the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The EIS concluded that environmental impacts would be reduced to “less than significant levels” with the implementation of proposed mitigation measures by the company and FERC. The commission served in a coordinating role with relevant federal and state agencies in developing its final EIS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.

The Constitution Pipeline is designed to transport enough natural gas each day to serve approximately 3 million homes in the U.S. Northeast. The project involves the construction and operation of the pipeline from natural gas supply areas in northeast Pennsylvania and connecting with existing transmission pipelines in Schoharie County, New York. Earlier this year, Constitution Pipeline and Leatherstocking Gas Co. LLC announced plans to install four delivery taps along the pipeline’s proposed route to facilitate local natural gas service to homes and businesses in southern New York and northern Pennsylvania.

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