Managing The Nation’s Electricity Needs | The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR

Managing The Nation’s Electricity Needs | The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR.

Northeast Gas Association: NGA ISSUE BRIEF: Pipeline Expansion Projects

Northeast Gas Association: NGA ISSUE BRIEF: Pipeline Expansion Projects.


  • Numerous projects are in development to expand the Northeast pipeline system, to transport supplies from the productive Marcellus shale gas basin in Appalachia
  • Projects rely upon customer commitments via contracts to proceed
  • Development must meet federal and state regulatory requirements.
  • NGA: pipeline infrastructure development is needed in the region to meet market demand.
Photo: Spectra Energy

The Northeast’s natural gas industry is striving to move forward with infrastructure projects designed to meet growing market demand. There is substantial growth in natural gas supplies within the Marcellus Shale basin on the border of the Northeast region (NY, NJ and New England). Even so, getting these new supplies to market requires further natural gas pipeline infrastructure investments, which requires incremental contract commitments.

Benefits of Adding Infrastructure

The Northeast natural gas pipeline system region remains constrained at several key points – particularly into the New York City area/Long Island and New England. New supplies and infrastructure will help to ease those constraints, and should help to improve the regional price situation.

The multiple projects all center around bringing Marcellus Shale supplies in Appalachia to market. These projects are designed to help further increase regional natural gas capacity, deliverability, flexibility and reliability, as well as provide economic and environmental benefits to the region. They also are planned to bring natural gas liquids, such as ethane, to market, a by-product of gas production.

In addition, there are planned system expansions on local utility systems to meet growing demand for natural gas – at the residential and commercial/industrial levels.

Importance of Contract Commitments to Project Advancement

The natural gas delivery system is designed to fulfill its contractual arrangements. Pipeline capacity is added to meet the needs of gas customers requesting primary firm service and who are willing to execute firm transportation contracts that pay for the required capital investment and operating costs. Without such commitments and arrangements, projects cannot proceed.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a December 2003 report on New England’s natural gas infrastructure noted:“The adequacy of the natural gas infrastructure is based on its ability to fulfill its contractual commitments. Natural gas may be contracted on a firm or interruptible basis. Interruptible contracts are typically less expensive because capacity is only paid for if used, and the supplier or transporter may interrupt service. The natural gas infrastructure is considered adequate if firm commitments are met and terms of the interruptible contract are satisfied.”

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) noted in fall 2011 that “between 2005 and 2010, pipeline expenditures [in the U.S.] averaged $8.8 billion per year in real 2010 dollars.”

However, natural gas pipeline companies do not design or build pipeline projects based on the assumption that there will be a future market for transportation. Capital investment by pipelines must be supported by revenue certainty through firm service agreements.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) summarizes the various options for creating additional pipeline capacity as including:

  • Building an entirely new pipeline
  • Adding a parallel pipeline along a segment of pipeline, called looping
  • Installing a lateral or extension off the existing mainline
  • Upgrading and expanding facilities, such as compressor stations, along an existing route.

What are the Stages of Pipeline Project Development?

There are several stages of project development. The following is adapted from a U.S. EIA paper.

As shown in the chart above, pipeline capacity additions in the Northeast have been rising in recent years. The outlook for further growth in 2013 – shown in pale green – is especially robust.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, March 25, 2013

Phase I: Market Assessment and “Open Season”
Market need and project viability assessed
Meet with stakeholders
Project proposal announced
“Open season” held to gauge level of market interest among potential customers
non-binding commitment to sign-up for a portion of the capacity rights available on the project

If enough interest is shown, sponsors arrive at preliminary design.

Phase 2: Development of final project design and obtaining of firm financial commitments from customers; meet with stakeholders

Phase 3: Filing with regulatory agencies – federal, state, etc.

Phase 4: Regulatory review and issuing of necessary certificates

Phase 5: Construction

Phase 6: Commissioning and testing

Photo: Yankee Gas Services Company

The process from initial development to commissioning can take from 3 to 5 years, and sometimes even longer.

Regulatory Review

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead permitting agency for interstate pipeline projects. FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, electricity and oil.

In addition, projects require certain state (and sometimes local) permits, particularly in environmental matters.

The U.S. EIA observes: “A FERC review of an interstate pipeline project takes from 5-18 months, with an average time of 15 months. No data are available on the average time for obtaining approval from an individual State agency. Usually, approval by the regulating authority is conditional, but most often the conditions do not constitute a significant impediment. The project sponsor must then either accept or reject the conditions or reapply with an alternative plan.”

Opportunities for the Region

The Marcellus supply production and the related infrastructure development offer great opportunities to the economy and environment of the Northeast. This region remains one of the most highly-populated, highly-priced and yet most highly-constrained gas markets in the U.S. These supply and pipeline developments have the potential of transforming the traditional paths of supply sourcing into the region, creating a more diverse supply mix and a more varied delivery network. This bodes well for regional supply security and economic competitiveness.

For Further Information

NGA Summary of Proposed Northeast Pipeline Projects [pdf]

U.S. EIA Outline of Pipeline Development Process


Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA)


400 + unConstitution Pipeline Intervenors !

400 + unConstitution Pipeline Intervenors !.

Constitution Pipeline Interventions by legal non-profits 7-17-13


July 17, 2013


Stop the Pipeline, Anne Marie Garti, 718-316-0322

Earthjustice, Bridget Lee, 212-845-7379

Riverkeeper, Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371

Catskill Mountainkeeper, Wes Gillingham, 845-901-1029

Clean Air Council, Matt Walker, 215-567-4004 ext. 121

Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Andrew Mason, 607-652-2162

Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Maya van Rossum, 215-369-1188 ext. 102

Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter, Roger Downs, 518-426-9144

Sierra Club, Pennsylvania Chapter, Thomas Au, 717-234-7445

Hundreds Intervene in Proceedings over Federal Review of Constitution Pipeline Project

120-mile natural gas pipeline through NY and PA attracts scrutiny and controversy

WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of environmental groups, along with more than 300 residents are intervening in proceedings over a 122-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to run through portions of New York and Pennsylvania, subjecting the already unpopular project to an added layer of controversy.

The flurry of intervention filings is the latest sign that residents and advocates are prepared to fiercely challenge infrastructure projects that will allow more fracking-enabled gas development in the region.

“The people who live here do so by choice — for the rural lifestyle, clean air, pure water, and abundant wildlife. They understand this pipeline will lead to an industrialization of the area, and they are not going to give up their land — and everything else they love about country living — without a fight,” said Anne Marie Garti, a founder of Stop the Pipeline, a grassroots organization formed by landowners and citizens who oppose the pipeline.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which has raised concerns over the environmental impacts of the project, has also intervened in the federal proceedings, indicating that the state agency intends to scrutinize the federal approval process.

The Constitution Pipeline Project — a joint venture between oil and gas company subsidiaries Williams Partners Operating, Cabot Pipeline Holdings, Piedmont Constitution Pipeline Company, and Capitol Energy Ventures — is proposed to transport natural gas from Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Schoharie Counties in New York to two existing interstate pipelines. Concerned about their property rights, as well as environmental and public health impacts of the project, approximately 1000 people submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last year opposing the proposed project, and 35 percent of the property owners along the pipeline route have refused to allow project personnel onto their land.

“My wife and I bought land, and built our house by hand, in order to enjoy the tranquility of the countryside,” said Dan Brignoli, a lifelong resident of Delaware County. “Last year they wanted to put the pipeline 200-feet from our home, but we wouldn’t let them on our land. Now they’ve moved it up the hill a hundred feet, just over the property line, but it could still pollute our water, or kill us if there were to be an explosion. The government shouldn’t let them take our land when there isn’t a real need for this pipeline. They just want to make more money — and lay down the infrastructure for fracking in New York State.”

But in spite of local objection, the companies proposing the project are pushing forward with plans, and filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in June. Today is the deadline to intervene in the FERC proceedings, resulting in filings by more than 300 residents; Stop the Pipeline, represented by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic; Riverkeeper; and a coalition of environmental groups — Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean Air Council, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and the Pennsylvania and Atlantic Chapters of Sierra Club — represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice.

“This 122-mile Constitution pipeline, planned to run through five counties and two states, is the sort of massive infrastructure project that will lock the region into continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels at a time when we need instead to be speeding the transition to clean renewable energy,” said Earthjustice attorney Bridget Lee. “The law requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give careful consideration to the pipeline’s impacts on people, communities, and the environment. Foresight and common sense dictate that FERC officials consider foregoing the project altogether.”

“Pipelines that have cut through our region have inflicted incredible damage — destroying forests, cutting through creeks, irreparably transforming wetlands, causing more polluted runoff, and decimating habitat critical to creatures in our region, said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. “The harms to the ecology of the region are devastating, but so are the harms to the people — damaging ecotourism, harming recreation such as hunting and boating, destroying the peace and beauty of communities during and after construction, forever changing what it means to live in these communities, and increasing the drilling and fracking that are destroying communities elsewhere and making this country even more dependent on dirty fossil fuels.”

The 122 miles of pipeline and additional miles of access roads will cut across forests and watersheds.

“The proposed project poses a substantial threat to ground and surface water resources in both New York and Pennsylvania. The 122 mile pipeline has the potential to impact and potentially contaminate multiple public drinking water sources and an untold number of private drinking water wells that lie within the Project area. The pipeline itself proposes to cross hundreds of streams and wetlands by literally digging a hole through them,” said Kate Hudson, Watershed Program Director at Riverkeeper. “These impacts alone demand that FERC take a hard look at the project’s environmental effects. Any project that jeopardizes multiple water resources in two states is clearly against the public’s interest.”

The project also includes two compressor stations, posing a threat to air quality and public health.

“The so-called Constitution Pipeline could emit hundreds of tons of harmful and climate-disrupting air pollution in Pennsylvania and New York each year, yet the Application ignores these real threats to public health,” said Matt Walker of the Clean Air Council. “The Project also is likely to create more demand for increased fracking and transmission infrastructure, all of which will cause even more air pollution and more health impacts for the people who call the surrounding communities home. Given the potentially serious risks to public health and air quality, the Council urges FERC to deny the Application for this ill-advised project.”

The project will disturb hundreds of acres of land — with access roads and industrial equipment cutting across forests and watersheds. The project potentially will affect both threatened and endangered species, including the Indiana Bat, migratory birds, and special protection waters.

“The pipeline as planned will fragment some of the best remaining bird habitat in the region,” said Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society Co-President Andrew Mason. “Many species already in decline will suffer further losses from this corridor that will break up their breeding territories and allow predators and nest parasites into the forests.”

Aided by the controversial high volume hydraulic fracking process and state and federal deregulation, gas drilling in Pennsylvania has increased exponentially in recent years and New York residents are fighting to protect their state from an impending gas drilling rush.

“If this project goes forward, the big winners will be the stockholders of the natural gas companies and the big losers will be the rest of us, said Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “There is no public necessity for this project. This is clearly a case of the gas industry trying to push through a project to increase their profit margin at the expense of the people along the route. This is the start of a massive web of gas infrastructure — the beginning of the industrialization of New York we have all been warned about.”

The pipeline will spur the already frantic pace of gas drilling and fracking in Pennsylvania — along with the air, water, and climate pollution that accompanies such development — and would lay the groundwork for industry to operate in New York. The impacts associated with this industrial activity include: spills of diesel fuel and fracking chemicals, methane migration into groundwater; contamination of major rivers with fracking wastewater, forested landscape pockmarked with well pads and access roads and pipelines cutting through forests and fields.

“FERC must acknowledge that the proposed Constitution Pipeline is not primarily a natural gas conveyance from point A to point B but a facilitator of fracking along the way,” said Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “The Western Slope of the Catskills and the Upper Susquehanna River Basin are protected from fracking simply because there is no infrastructure to transport the gas to market. The Constitution Pipeline will be just that inducement — transforming this storied landscape into an industrial grid work of well pads and gathering lines.”

Attached is a press release announcing the entrance of the legal nonprofits into this battlefield.

Below a list of some of the public interest, nonprofit interventions and comments filed as of 4 pm. The positions of the NYS DEC, US Army Corp of Engineers, and Department of the Interior (US Fish and Wildlife) are currently aligned with the public interest law firms, and nonprofits.

Anne Marie

Motion to Intervene by Stop the Pipeline. Submitted by the PACE ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION CLINIC under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of Earthjustice on Behalf of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean Air Council, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Sierra Club in CP13-499.

Comments of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean Air Council, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Sierra Club, and Riverkeeper, Inc. under CP13-499-000.

Motion to Intervene of Riverkeeper, Inc. under CP13-499.

New York State Council of Trout Unlimited submits Petition to Intervene re the Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of Center for Sustainable Rural Communities under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of Otsego 2000, Inc. under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of Town of Davenport, New York under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene by the Town of Meredith under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of Town of Franklin, New York under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of New York Public Service Commission under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under CP13-499.

Motion to Intervene of U.S. Department of the Interior under CP13-499, et. al..

Comments of the US Army Corps of Engineers regarding preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Constitution Pipeline Project under PF12-9.


Local Audubon group takes aim at pipeline » Local News » The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY – otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Local Audubon group takes aim at pipeline » Local News » The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY – otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports.


Short window of opportunity for residents to “intervene” on proposed pipeline.

 Impacted landowners, community members, business owners and public officials have until July 17, 2013 to “intervene” with the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the matter of the proposed Constitution Pipeline. Those who intervene become an integral part of the review process. While interveners have no obligation, the process of intervening established the necessary framework for taking actions, if necessary, against the pipeline company. ALL AREA RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, AND TOWN AND VILLAGE BOARDS SHOULD INTERVENE. Those who do not intervene significantly limit their options for protecting their property, and their community, from the pipeline.

Instructions for intervening can be found on the Stop the Pipeline website:

Stop the Pipeline’s Schoharie Action Committee will be conducting door-to-door visits along the proposed pipeline the week of July 8th to assist people with the intervention process.

The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities, located at 296 Main Street in Richmondville, NY will hold special training sessions to assist people wishing to intervene on Thursday July 11th from 10 AM until 2 PM, Friday July 12thfrom 6 PM until 8 PM and Saturday July 13th from 9 AM until 12 PM. The Center will provide high speed Internet access, computer terminals and volunteers to assist individuals and group in registering with FERC.

The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities is also offering consultation to Town, Village and County boards who wish to intervene. Public officials can contact the Center at 518-872-3903 or via email:

Press Contact:

Robert Nied

Board of Directors

Center for Sustainable Rural Communities


Constitution Pipeline

Constitution Pipeline

June 29, 2013

Pipeline filing sets stage for FERC

By Joe Mahoney Staff WriterThe Daily Star

DEC puts limits on pipeline construction » Local News » The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY – otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

DEC puts limits on pipeline construction » Local News » The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY – otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports.


LOOK-BEFORE-YOU-LEAP.pdf (application/pdf Object).

Why Policymakers and the Public Need Fair Disclosure Before Exports of Fracked Gas Start

Sierra Club

League submits comments to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission | League of Women Voters

League submits comments to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission | League of Women Voters.