FERC seeks input on enviro report for Northern Access pipeline project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 27 put out for comment an environmental assessment (EA) for the Northern Access 2016 Project, proposed by National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. and Empire Pipeline Inc.

National Fuel requests authorization to construct, operate, and maintain about 99 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline and related facilities in McKean County, Pennsylvania, and Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie, and Niagara counties, New York. The project would provide 350,000 dekatherms per day of capacity to markets in the northeastern United States and Canada.

The FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EA.

The proposed Northern Access 2016 Project includes the following facilities:

  • 96.9 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline in McKean County, Pennsylvania, and Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Erie counties, New York;
  • 0.9 mile of 16-inch-diameter pipeline and 1.2 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline in Niagara County, New York;
  • a new 22,000 horsepower (hp) compressor station in Niagara County;
  • an additional 5,000 hp of compression at an existing compressor station in Erie County;
  • a metering, regulation, and delivery station in Erie County;
  • a dehydration facility in Niagara County;
  • tie-ins in McKean, Cattaraugus, and Erie counties;
  • modification of tie-in facilities in Niagara County;
  • mainline block valves in McKean, Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Erie counties; and
  • access roads and contractor/staging yards in McKean, Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Erie counties.

The project would provide incremental firm transportation to markets in the northeastern United States and Canada through National Fuel and Empire’s existing interconnections, including Empire’s interconnection with TransCanada Pipeline at Chippawa (a receipt point), as well as markets on the Tennessee Gas 200 Line in Erie County, New York, and other interconnections with local gas distribution companies, power generators, and other interstate pipelines available on both the National Fuel and Empire systems.

The project would create approximately 350,000 dekatherms per day of capacity to these market areas. National Fuel and Empire each held Open Seasons for the project in June 2014, and executed a long-term binding agreement with Seneca Resources Corp. for 100% of the firm transportation capacity.

Comments on the draft EA are being taken until Aug. 26.

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.