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Sierra Club asks for closer look at PennEast; WB XPress review due in spring

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Sierra Club asks for closer look at PennEast; WB XPress review due in spring

Sierra Club asks for new environmental review of $1B PennEast project

The Sierra Club voiced concerns over FERC's draft environmental impact statement of the 1.1-MMDth/d PennEast Pipeline Company LLC natural gas transportation project, saying modifications to the pipeline route may require a closer look.

The environmental group's New Jersey Chapter filed a letter with the commission Dec. 5. It asked FERC to consider scrapping the draft environmental impact statement or at least extending deadline to comment. The proposed route modifications, which came after the draft EIS was published, would affect residents of Bucks County, Pa. The group said a longer comment period would allow these people and other parties the opportunity to provide input on the project. Currently, the commission's final EIS on the project is expected Feb. 17, 2017.

FERC staff sets spring 2017 release for review of Columbia's WB XPress project

FERC staff plans to issue the environmental review in spring 2017 for the 1.3-MMDth/d WB XPress project to bolster Columbia Pipeline Group Inc.'s mid-Atlantic gas infrastructure.

In a Dec. 9 notice, the commission released the staff's planned schedule for the environmental assessment. The staff intends to issue the assessment March 24. Cooperating federal agencies would then have until June 22 to complete their own work on the project review.

FERC terminates early review of struggling Mississippi River LNG project

FERC is ending its early review of the Mississippi River LNG project after the commission said developers failed to respond to data requests and engage other regulatory agencies and potential stakeholders.

FERC's decision followed a Sept. 8 progress report in which project developer Louisiana LNG Energy LLC said it was unable to file a formal application to FERC due to "pending legal action related to the project and its current insolvency status." Louisiana LNG Energy was acquired by Parallax Energy in April 2015, and in June 2015 Cheniere Energy Inc. announced that it was partnering with Parallax to develop the project in Plaquemines Parish, La.

Tennessee Gas approved to begin building piece of $406M expansion project

FERC approved Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.'s request to begin working on the Broad Run expansion project, which would result in a 200,000-Dth/d increase in service on the company's pipeline system.

The expansion project will be installed and operated in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee and is divided into two components. The Dec. 7 FERC order granted authorization for construction to begin on the replacement component of the project, which is estimated to cost $68.5 million.

FERC law judge clarifies settlement conference requirements for state regulators

Explaining that she never meant to change any "longstanding practice of comity and accommodation regarding the unique posture of state commissions," FERC Chief Administrative Law Judge Carmen Cintron clarified her recent notice outlining expectations for participants in agency in-person settlement conferences.

Cintron's Aug. 30 notice, which specified that all such participants must have "full ... authority to negotiate and accept or approve settlement terms," prompted a group of regulators from nine states to ask the chief judge for clarification of the new mandate. In their Nov. 29 letter, they warned that the move would "have a chilling effect" on their involvement in settlement negotiations since "no one state commissioner can bind any participating state commission by unilaterally negotiating, accepting or approving the terms and conditions of a proposed settlement at FERC."

'Unfounded arguments': NEXUS slams Sierra Club claims

Nexus Gas Partners LLC, a joint venture between DTE Energy Co. and Spectra Energy Corp, asked FERC to deny a Sierra Club request to dismiss the application for the 1.5-Bcf/d pipeline project that would move Marcellus and Utica shale gas to Midwest and Canadian markets.

NEXUS made the request in a Dec. 2 answer to Sierra Club charges of antitrust violations, legal problems and environmental impacts related to the NEXUS pipeline project. "Sierra Club has failed to establish any grounds for dismissal of the NEXUS application," the pipeline developer wrote.

FERC staff OKs Northern Natural gas pipe upgrade to serve Minn. power plant

FERC Office of Energy Projects staff signed off on Northern Natural Gas Co.'s $49.9 million proposal to build and upgrade natural gas facilities in Minnesota but suggested mitigating measures as conditions for FERC's final approval.

Staff said in a Dec. 9 environmental assessment that approval of the proposal would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the environment as long as mitigating measures are followed.