FERC Approves New Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion in the Northeast

Published June 5, 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded a proposed pipeline project carrying natural gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania to New York, connecting to utilities throughout the Northeast was in the public interest and approved its construction.

Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement (NSE) project will expand on the company’s existing pipeline infrastructure in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania including adding two new natural gas compressors at exiting compressor stations and adding approximately 36 miles of new pipeline in established rights-of-way, primarily along-side existing pipelines.

Economic Benefits

Researchers at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University found during its design and construction phases, the NSE project will generate approximately $327 million in additional economic activity in the three states, creating approximately 3,186 jobs during the construction period. Additional jobs and revenue will be generated during the life of the pipeline and compressor stations’ operations.

Transco has estimated NSE would add 400,000 dekatherms per day of additional natural gas to regional grid, displacing the use of 900 thousand barrels of heating oil annually in the region. The NSE will enable National Grid, the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern United States, to continue converting about 8,000 customers per year from heating oil to natural gas in the Northeast.

‘In The Public Interest’

FERC’s two Republican commissioners, Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Bernard McNamee, and Cheryl LaFleur, a Democratic appointee, approved the project’s certificate of construction after determining, by displacing oil with cleaner burning natural gas, the project would result in the reduction in a variety of air pollutants in the region and could result in lower greenhouse gas emissions overall since natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than oil on a volume basis when burned.

“After carefully balancing the need for the project and its environmental impacts, I find the project is in the public interest,” LaFleur stated in her remarks concurring with the majority’s decision to approve the pipeline project.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.