Regulators: Constitution pipeline’s environmental impact not significant

HOUSTON — Regulators have concluded that the Constitution pipeline and related Wright Interconnect Project would have a less-than-significant impact on the environment in a final analysis released today.

The conclusion by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff is another step forward for the 124-mile natural gas line running through Pennsylvania and New York, which is being built by Williams, Cabot Oil & Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas and WGL  Holdings. The project could begin construction as early as the first quarter 2015, pending the handful of remaining approvals needed for the line.

In a statement announcing the decision, the regulator’s staff said it concluded “that construction and operation of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels.”

The Environmental Impact Statement clears the way for the FERC’s commissioners to make a final decision on the project.

The Constitution pipeline will add roughly 650 million cubic feet per day of capacity to the New York and New England area. Williams Partners owns a 41 percent share of Constitution Pipeline and will operate the line. Cabot holds a 25 interest, Piedmont Natural Gas a 24 percent share and WGL owns a 10 percent share of the company, according to an earlier statement about the project. The pipeline’s early estimated cost was $683 million.

The pipeline will link to further distribution in the region through the Iroquois and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline via the Wright Interconnect Project. The Wright project will add 22,000 horsepower of compression to the existing Wright Compressor Station.

The Wright Project was also assessed by today’s Environmental Impact Statement.