FERC Will Not Oversee UTOPIA NGL Pipeline Project in Ohio

In December 2013, MDN told you about Kinder Morgan’s new NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline cleverly named UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access). UTOPIA is a $500 million, 210-mile, 10-inch pipeline from Harrison County, Ohio to Riga, Michigan and from there connecting with another pipeline heading into Windsor, Ontario (see UTOPIA is Coming! The UTOPIA Pipeline, that is…). Kinder has held an open season and in January 2016 they will file a full application and target November 2016 to begin construction. What we didn’t know, or realize (until today) is that all of the new pipeline that needs to be constructed for the project will happen within Ohio. No new pipeline is needed in Michigan or indeed into Ontario. Why is that important? Because newly constructed pipeline doesn’t cross state lines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will not be involved with approving or overseeing construction for the project. Because it’s all within Ohio, the lead agency for approval and oversight will be the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with an assist from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (an agency drunk on its own power)…

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