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FERC denies request to revisit approval of Tennessee Gas' Orion expansion

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FERC denies request to revisit approval of Tennessee Gas' Orion expansion

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refused to reconsider its approval of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.'s 135,000-Dth/d Orion natural gas pipeline expansion project, already in service in northeast Pennsylvania.

A Feb. 27 FERC order denied a rehearing request from the environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The commission said issues raised by Delaware Riverkeeper were addressed in the Feb. 2, 2017, certificate order that approved the expansion, and the commission said the group did not identify any flaws in the project analysis.

The commission authorized Tennessee Gas, a Kinder Morgan Inc. company, to begin service on the approximately $144 million project in November 2017. Shale producer Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and two South Jersey Industries Inc. companies subscribed to the additional gas transportation capacity.

Delaware Riverkeeper criticized the timing of the FERC decision. "FERC's denial of our rehearing after sitting on it for over a year and until the project was clearly beyond reversal is a despicable abuse of power. Unfortunately, it is straight out of the FERC playbook," Delaware Riverkeeper founder Maya van Rossum said. "Whether we will appeal is still a question we are pondering."

Delaware Riverkeeper has lost other challenges to the project, including a request that FERC halt construction activities and a petition to a federal appeals court to revoke a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The expansion allowed Tennessee Gas to add firm transportation service on its 300 Line in Pennsylvania. The project included almost 13 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline loops. (FERC docket CP16-4)