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Group targets small Pennsylvania gas line

11 Jul 2017, 5.16 pm GMT

Group targets small Pennsylvania gas line

Houston, 11 July (Argus) — A water conservation group has expressed concerns about a small natural gas pipeline project that would connect to a new gas-fired power plant in Pennsylvania.

In a filing with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), The Delaware Riverkeeper Network said it was "particularly concerned" about the impact of DTE Midstream's 76mn cf/d (2mn m³/d) Birdsboro pipeline on wetlands and communities.

The project would include about 14 miles (23km) of 12-inch diameter pipeline in Berks county, Pennsylvania, to transport natural gas from an interconnection with Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) to a new gas-fired power plant in Birdsboro, located about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia. DTE Midstream filed its application with FERC in May and expects to place the project into service by July 2018.

"As proposed, the project could adversely affect numerous sensitive freshwater wetlands," the filing said.

The group also said DTE Midstream might be improperly segmenting its projects to avoid regulatory responsibilities and more rigorous environmental studies.

The group has asked FERC to allow them to have full rights to participate in further proceedings as the project application makes its way through FERC's filing process.

Over the past year pipeline projects in the US northeast have come under increasing scrutiny from environmental groups and state regulators, with two large projects denied permits to cross waterways in New York and a third denied a water permit in New Jersey.

If successful in delaying Birdsboro plans, the filing may indicate that smaller projects are just as susceptible to opposition as larger ones.

The 488MW Birdsboro Power Plant includes a gas turbine and a steam turbine, and is being built on a brownfield site that was once a manufacturing facility. The plant is expected to begin service in the second quarter of 2019.

Inexpensive natural gas from the nearby Marcellus and Utica shales were a driving force behind the power plant project, according to developers Ares Management. Spot natural gas prices at Tetco M-3, which includes deliveries on Tetco in Pennsylvania, have averaged a 29¢/mmBtu discount to the Henry Hub so far this year.

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