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FERC staff gives PennEast pipeline a thumbs-up in environmental review

FERC Office of Energy Projects staff signed off onPennEast Pipeline Co.LLC's proposal to build a nearly 120-mile natural gas pipeline toserve markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions with 1.1 million Dth/dof gas from the Marcellus Shale.

"The FERC staff concludes that approval of the projectwould result in some adverse environmental impacts," staff said in theJuly 22 draft environmentalimpact statement. "However, most of these impacts would bereduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of PennEast'sproposed mitigation and the additional recommendations in the draft EIS."

On Sept. 24, 2015, PennEast applied with FERC to build andoperate facilities that would make up the PennEast pipeline project. Theproject is expected to cost approximately $1 billion.

The PennEast pipeline would deliver 1.1 million Dth/d offirm transportation service from northern Pennsylvania to markets in easternand southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and surrounding areas. About 90% ofthe project capacity has been spoken for by 12 shippers in binding precedentagreements. PennEast has planned an in-service date of November2017.

"The companies that will use PennEast include everynatural gas public utility serving New Jersey, and major utilities that servecustomers in southeastern Pennsylvania and New York City," PennEastspokeswoman Patricia Kornick said in a July 22 statement.

The project shippers included , , Texas Eastern TransmissionLP, South Jersey GasCo., ConsolidatedEdison Inc., PivotalUtility Holdings Inc. d/b/a Elizabethtown Gas, , , TalenEnergy Marketing LLC, EnerplusResources (USA) Corp., WarrenResources Inc. and NRG REMA LLC.

PennEast proposed to install 118.8 miles of pipeline,including 115 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline from Luzerne County, Pa., toan interconnectionwith Williams PartnersLP's TranscontinentalGas Pipe Line Co. LLC pipeline in Mercer County, N.J.; a 2.1-milelateral 24-inch-diameter pipeline in Northampton County, Pa.; and a 0.1-milelateral 12-inch-diameter pipeline in Hunterdon County, N.J.

PennEast will place about 37% of the adjacent to existing rights ofway. PennEast attributed this decision and other route changes tofeedback from more than 250 meetings with landowners and public officials.

PennEast is a partnership among 's , formerly AGLResources Inc.; Spectra EnergyPartners LP; NewJersey Resources Corp.'s NJR Pipeline Co.; 'sPSEG Power LLC;South Jersey IndustriesInc.'s SJI Midstream; and UGI Corp. subsidiary UGI Energy Services. (CP15-558)