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Support for pipelines in New England to be determined; Spire seeks early review of St. Louis line from REX

FERCis about to make decisions that will help set the course on how New Englandgets its energy.

The commissionmust choose to support new natural gas pipelines, like 's Access Northeastproject, or not, says Spectra executive Richard Kruse. "Either thisconcept works or it doesn't," he said.

Takinga step forward with aggressive growth plans, Midwest natural gas utilityconglomerate Spire Inc.asked FERC to begin a prefiling review of a pipeline that would pull about400,000 Dth/d of gas off the RockiesExpress Pipeline LLC system for distribution in eastern Missouri.

"Theproject will serve the energy needs of residential, commercial and industrialcustomers in the eastern portion of Missouri, including the St. Louismetropolitan area and surrounding counties," Spire subsidiary Spire STLPipeline LLC said in a July 11 request.

Transco's 250,000-Dth/d Virginia Southside Expansion Project II getsFERC approval

FERCapproved a Transcontinental GasPipe Line Co. LLC natural gas expansion project that will provide 250,000 Dth/d of gastransportation service to VirginiaPower Services Energy Corp. Inc. for a new power plant.

TheWilliams Partners LPsubsidiary accepted the FERC-issued certificate on July 14. The authorizationwill allow Transco to construct and operate the Virginia Southside ExpansionProject II. The project is expected to cost approximately $190.8 million.

Afederal appeals court asked FERC to explain why a deal allowing to giveup contracted services at DominionResources Inc.'s Cove Point LNG import terminal was not unfair toBP Energy Co.,another Dominion customer that did not get the same opportunity.

TheU.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said FERC appearedto treat the BP plcsubsidiary differently from Statoil because BP Energy possessed protectionsunder Natural Gas Act Section 7, such as the release and retention ofcontracted-for terminal services, that Statoil, which had a contract basedunder Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, did not.

FERCdoes not have to consider climate change and other indirect impacts ofincreased natural gas exports for proposed LNG export projects, a federalappeals court said as it denied an environmentalist challenge to the approvalof Dominion Resources Inc.'s Cove Point LNG export terminal.

Alongwith earlier decisionsfrom the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, theopinion supported how FERC calculates the climate effects of individual gasprojects. The commission says many climate change effects are impossible tomeasure or connect with individual gas projects. The U.S. EPA and environmentalgroups, meanwhile, have pushed the commission to do .

FERCstaff plans to issue an environmental assessment this summer for threeTexas Eastern Transmission LPnatural gas projects that would deliver an additional 622,000 Dth/d fromPennsylvania to Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi.

FERCstaff's schedule for completing the environmental assessment, or EA,anticipates the document will be available Aug. 8 for the Access South, AdairSouthwest and Lebanon Extension projects. Other federal agencies cooperatingwith FERC will have 90 days following the publication, or until Nov. 6, tofinish their work on the review. FERC released the schedule in a July 12 notice.

FERCfound problems with a New York request to hold Constitution Pipeline Co. LLCaccountable for tree clearing along the route of its stalled natural gaspipeline project, and the commission refused to stop the project as the statehad asked.

Thecommission did say, however, that it would have its staff look into the requestto see if it has any merit.