Spectra’s Algonquin Apologizes to FERC for Not Asking “Mother May I?”

Mother-May-I.jpgRunning a bulldozer a few feet into a swamp–without written permission–can land you in a lot of hot water. That’s what Spectra Energy is learning following such an incident. Well, we don’t know if it was actually a bulldozer or not, but here is what we do know. On August 28, 2016, Algonquin Gas Transmission (a Sepctra company) experienced a break in the drill stem while attempting the pullback of a 5,000-foot-long HDD (horizontal directional drill) along the Hudson River in New York. The work being done is for Spectra’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had an on-site Compliance Monitor, and that person WAS informed that Algonquin believed the break was within a wetland (i.e. swamp) adjacent to the drill entry side, and that Algonquin would like to “excavate the wetland” which includes removing a few trees, to access the drill stem. The Compliance Monitor (sort of like the old Soviet political officer) told Algonquin that he needed more information before taking such an action. Then it all gets muddled. Algonquin says it was a misunderstanding, and the FERC Compliance Officer says they ignored him (our interpretation of what’s being said). At any rate, the upshot is if Algonquin had waited for the written permission slip from the political officer, er, a, Compliance Monitor, there wouldn’t be a story. But Algonquin went ahead, encroaching on about 381 square feet of swamp–about the size of an average living room. And because of it, FERC has rained down hell fire on Algonquin…

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