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Algonquin Gas asks court to force decision on air permit for Atlantic Bridge

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Algonquin Gas asks court to force decision on air permit for Atlantic Bridge

Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC asked a federal appeals court to review the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's "failure to issue, condition, or deny" an air permit for a compressor station on the 132,705-Dth/d Atlantic Bridge natural gas expansion project, designed to deliver additional gas supplies from points in New Jersey and New York to New England and Canadian markets.

Algonquin asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to order the state agency to either issue or deny the permit. The company said in its Feb. 16 petition that the agency's refusal to issue a decision is "preventing the construction and operation" of a portion of the $451.8 million project. To issue the permit, the agency would have to approve Algonquin's comprehensive plan for a proposed compressor station in the town of Weymouth, Mass. Algonquin is a subsidiary of Spectra Energy Partners LP, which is a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Atlantic Bridge project in a January 2017 certificate order. FERC authorized partial service in New York and Connecticut in 2017. Plans for the compressor station in Weymouth triggered opposition from the town. Weymouth petitioned the court, saying the station threatens the health and safety of residents.

Algonquin argued that during the FERC application process the commission established a July 2016 deadline for other agencies, including the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, to reach final decisions on permits.

Algonquin and affiliate Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LLC developed Atlantic Bridge. The project consists of 6.3 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline and compression facilities in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Project shippers subscribed to the entire incremental capacity, committing to 15-year firm transportation service agreements. The shippers include five local distribution companies, two manufacturing companies and a municipal utility. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit docket 18-1045)