National Fuel was granted a three-year deadline extension from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to complete a pipeline that would flow natural gas from the Marcellus Shale of northern Pennsylvania into Canada.
Ferc gave National Fuel until Feb. 3, 2022, to finish the Northern Access Ppipeline, Kallanish Energy reports. The project has been on the drawing board for five years.
“A three-year extension of time is necessary because applicants do not anticipate commencement of project construction until early 2021, due to New York’s continued legal actions and to time lines required for procurement of necessary pipe and compressor facility materials,” according to last week’s letter from Richard W. Foley, a branch chief in Ferc’s Division of Pipeline Certificates.
National Fuel spokeswoman Karen L. Merkel told The Buffalo News newspaper the letter is “yet another step in the right direction.”
Connecting under the Niagara River
The 97-mile route would run through Allegany, Cattaraugus and Erie counties and also includes two miles of extensions of existing pipelines in Niagara County, New York.
Merkel told the News the goal is to connect to a Canadian pipeline under the Niagara River, to feed the gas into the North American Pipeline Grid serving Canada and the northeast U.S.
Ferc approved the project in February 2017, despite opposition from environmentalists and some residents in towns along the route, and the agency gave the company two years to finish the work. That deadline would have expired Feb. 3.
DEC denies water permit
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has blocked the project by denying National Fuel a water quality certificate needed to build the pipeline across Western New York streams.
But last August, Ferc ruled the DEC missed a deadline to act on the water quality certificate, making the denial invalid as far as Ferc is concerned.
National Fuel CEO Ronald J. Tanski told Wall Street analysts during a quarterly earnings call last Friday he was encouraged by a recent ruling by the federal Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia (in an unrelated case) that state agencies aren’t allowed to take more than a year to process a water quality certificate.
“We’re hoping that this recent federal court decision will allow Ferc to quickly dismiss New York’s rehearing request on Ferc’s most recent authorization for our project,” Tanski said, the News reported.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.