FERC Fights Critics with Draft EIS for Marcellus/Utica Projects

Columbia Leach Express map
Columbia Leach Express map – click for larger version

In August 2014, MDN told you that Columbia Pipeline Group, a division of NiSource, had decided to move forward with investing $1.75 billion dollars for two new projects: the Leach XPress and Rayne XPress pipeline projects (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). Leach Xpress will begin in Marshall County, West Virginia, cross Ohio and end up in Leach, Kentucky. Rayne Xpress will beef up an existing pipeline from Leach, Kentucky that goes all the way to Rayne, Louisiana with new compressor stations and looping. The two projects together mean up to 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas can move through the entire system–from West Virginia to the Gulf Coast and all point in between. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just issued a press release announcing their draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) results. The press release isn’t a typical FERC press release. They take great pains to link to the extensive paperwork that makes up the EIS. What it signals is FERC’s attempt to counter false claims that the agency is simply a rubber stamp for Big Oil & Gas. So the press release below is important for two reasons: (1) It means Leach XPress and Rayne XPress have achieved another significant milestone on their way to being built, and (2) it signals that FERC isn’t going to let anti-fossil fuel nutters set the narrative about the agency any more…

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