FERC Delays Enviro Review of Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just slowed the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project. In March 2017, Williams filed a full, official application for NESE (see Williams Files with FERC to Expand Transco Pipeline to NYC, NE). The project will increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets. In particular, Transco wants to provide more Marcellus natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There are a number of components to the project, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco offshore. Much of the Raritan Bay pipeline is located in New York territorial waters, meaning the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which is controlled by anti-everything Andrew Cuomo, must sign off. So far the DEC has issued two “application incomplete” notices to Williams, the most recent in July (see NY DEC Tells Williams NE Supply Water Permit App is “Incomplete”). Which is not a bad thing as it keeps the project alive, allowing Williams to resubmit the application again. In other words, although the project is delayed because of NY, it’s not dead like some of the other Williams projects in NY. FERC issued a favorable draft environment impact statement (DEIS) in March of this year (see Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipe Gets Favorable DEIS). FERC was due to issue the final environmental impact statement this month, on Sept. 17, but last week FERC told Williams they’re delaying. Now the final EIS is due by Jan. 25, 2019. Is this bad news for the project?…

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