FERC plans enviro review on gas pipeline to serve TVA’s Paradise coal plant

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) on the Western Kentucky Lateral Project, which involves construction and operation of facilities by Texas Gas Transmission LLC in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, to serve a partial repowering of the Paradise coal-fired plant of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The commission said in a May 5 notice that it will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity. Scoping comments on what needs to be covered in the EA are due by June 4.

Texas Gas proposes to construct and operate 22.5 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline to connect the existing Texas Gas Midland 3 Compressor Station to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s existing Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. This Western Lateral Project would provide about 230,000 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day to TVA’s proposed combined cycle gas plant at Paradise. This project includes the replacement of Units 1 and 2 at the plant to assist TVA’s compliance with air emissions standards. The coal-fired Unit 3 would remain in operation.

The Western Kentucky Lateral Project would consist of:

  • 22.5-miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline;
  • two new meter and regulator stations; and
  • one new mainline valve.

Notable is that the Kentucky Coal Association, in an April 3 brief filed at the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, laid out why it thinks a U.S. District Court erred in December 2014 in tossing out its lawsuit over TVA’s decision to shut two of three coal units at the Paradise power plant and replace them with new gas-fired capacity at the site. The association’s April 3 opening brief said the issues on appeal are:

  • Whether the trial court erred when it denied a local landowners’ motion for preliminary injunctive relief and granted TVA’s motion for judgment on the record, allowing TVA to continue with its plan to close Paradise Units 1 and 2 and construct a new 1,025-MW combustion turbine (CT)/combined cycle (CC) facility even though that decision is not supported by any least-cost planning engaged in by TVA pursuant to its TVA Act obligations.
  • Whether the trial court erred when it denied the landowners’ motion for preliminary injunctive relief and granted TVA’s motion for judgment on the record, allowing TVA to continue with its plan without first preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), even though the TVA’s own internal procedures call for an EIS when a major generating facility is being constructed.
  • Whether the trial court erred when it denied the landowners’ motion for preliminary injunctive relief and granted TVA’s motion for judgment on the record, allowing TVA to continue with its plan without first conducting an EIS, even though the Environmental Assessment (EA) the federal utility did perform yielded an “arbitrary and capricious” Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) by improperly segmenting the consideration of the effects of the natural gas pipelines that must be constructed to fuel the proposed new facility and weighing possible impacts against benefits. 
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.