United States: FERC Issues NGA Section 7(C) Certificate To Rockies Express For The East-To-West Expansion Project

On February 25, 2016, FERC granted Rockies Express Pipeline LLC's ("Rockies Express") request for a certificate to construct and operate natural gas compression and ancillary facilities in Ohio and Indiana ("East-to-West Expansion Project") pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act ("NGA"). Rockies Express stated that the proposed East-to-West Expansion Project will enable it to provide an additional 800,000 dekatherms per day ("Dth/d") of east-to-west transportation service within Zone 3 of the Rockies Express system.

Rockies Express's mainline extends from northwestern Colorado and southern Wyoming to the Clarington Hub near Clarington, Monroe County, Ohio. The mainline was originally designed to provide transportation of natural gas from west to east. In February 2015, FERC granted Rockies Express's application for certificate authority to make modifications at its existing compressor stations and interconnections to enable Rockies Express to provide firm east-to-west transportation service within Zone 3 of the mainline. On March 31, 2015, Rockies Express filed its certificate application for the East-to-West Expansion Project, requesting authority to construct and operate (1) one new compressor station in Pickaway County, Ohio, including gas cooling facilities and a power and control building ("Columbus Compressor Station"); (2) one new compressor station in Fayette County, Ohio, including gas cooling facilities and a power and control building; (3) one new compressor station in Decatur County, Indiana, including gas cooling facilities and a power and control building; (4) additional horsepower of compression, gas cooling facilities, and a new power distribution building at the existing Chandlersville Compressor Station in Muskingum County, Ohio; and (5) gas cooling facilities and a new power distribution building at the existing Hamilton Compressor Station in Warren County, Ohio. In the application, Rockies Express stated that the East-to-West Expansion Project will increase Zone 3's east-to-west firm transportation capability by 800,000 Dth/d for receipts at the Clarington Hub to corresponding deliveries of 520,000 Dth/d at Lebanon, Ohio and 280,000 Dth/d at Moultrie County, Illinois.

On August 31, 2015, FERC Staff issued an Environmental Assessment ("EA") for the project. In addition to protestors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") filed comments on the EA, including (1) stating that it was unclear whether the Hamilton Compressor Station was located within the Miami Valley Buried Aquifer boundary; (2) recommending that Rockies Express identify whether chemical additives would be introduced into hydrostatic test water, suggesting that the final environmental document identify the potential sources Rockies Express may use for hydrostatic test water and disclose whether or not each source is capable of providing the estimated volume required, and recommending that the final environmental document identify the facilities for disposal and treatment of the after-test waters; (3) recommending that the EA's estimated compressor station noise levels be updated to include noise level information for the existing Hamilton Compressor Station and requesting that the final environmental document provide an estimate of the number and duration of anticipated blowdown events and identify noise abatement measures to address those events; (4) recommending that the final environmental document include a more detailed analysis of the non-jurisdictional power lines needed to operate certain new compressor stations; (5) recommending that the final environmental document identify the potable water supply source for the Columbus Compressor Station, assess the secondary impacts associated with potable water line tie-ins, and describe applicable mitigation measures; (6) recommending that the final environmental document commit to implementation of reasonable mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate project-related greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions, describe any such measures, and estimate the GHG reductions associated with each measure; and (7) recommending that the final environmental document describe best management practices to reduce leakage of methane associated with project operation.

In its order issuing certificate, FERC found that the proposed project satisfies the Certificate Policy Statement's requirement that Rockies Express could financially support the expansion without subsidization from existing shippers. FERC also found that the East-to-West Expansion Project will not adversely impact other existing pipelines or their captive customers. In addition, FERC found that Rockies Express will adequately minimize impacts on landowners and surrounding communities by acquiring the necessary property rights for the project through negotiations with landowners. Thus, FERC found that the East-to-West Expansion Project is in the public interest. Furthermore, FERC approved Rockies Express's request to use its existing system reservation charge and commodity charge as the initial recourse rates for services using the new capacity. Because Rockies Express's application did not specifically address the rate for interruptible service, FERC directed Rockies Express to provide all interruptible mainline service under its existing Rate Schedule ITS. FERC also required Rockies Express to file either its negotiated rate agreements or tariff records setting forth the essential terms of the agreements associated with the project. Although FERC stated that there will be a presumption of rolled-in rate treatment for the costs and revenues associated with the project in a future NGA section 4 rate case, FERC directed Rockies Express to keep separate books and accounting of costs attributable to the project.

With respect to its environmental analysis, FERC rejected arguments that it segmented its review of Rockies Express's East-to-West Project, East-to-West Expansion Project, and the Seneca Lateral Projects by failing to consider the three projects as connected, cumulative, and similar actions. First, FERC found that the projects were not "connected," concluding that none of Rockies Express's projects depend on any other projects for their justification. Second, FERC disagreed that the three projects are "cumulative actions" and "have cumulatively significant impacts," instead finding, as the EA had concluded, that the East-to-West Expansion's limited region of influence confined cumulative impacts to air quality. The EA analyzed the projects' potential cumulative impacts on air quality, and FERC agreed with the EA's conclusion that, based on the distance between the Seneca Lateral Compressor Station and any of Rockies Express's existing or proposed compression facilities, cumulative impacts on air quality would not be significant. Third, FERC disagreed with arguments that the three projects are "similar actions," instead finding that each project is distinct and separate that has been or is being addressed in individual FERC proceedings. In addition to the segmentation analysis, FERC found that potential environmental effects associated with natural gas production are neither sufficiently causally related to the proposed project nor reasonably foreseeable impacts. FERC further found that any impacts of the East-to-West Expansion Project will not be incremental cumulative environmental impacts of Marcellus and Utica shale gas production.

Regarding EPA's comments on the EA, FERC concurred with the EA's conclusion that any potential impacts on groundwater will be minimized by Rockies Express's mitigation measures and that the project will have no adverse impacts on the Miami Valley Buried Aquifer. FERC also stated that the EA indicated that no surface waters would be used and that Rockies Express's use of a state approved disposal facility is sufficient to ensure adequate handling and treatment of the test water. Furthermore, FERC noted that the findings of the EA remain unchanged and that noise attributable to the modified Hamilton Compressor Station will not increase at any noise sensitive areas as a result of the project, and that Environmental Condition 12 requires Rockies Express to file a noise survey after placing the compressor station in service. FERC also concluded that additional noise abatement measures for unit blowdowns are not warranted. With respect to the EPA's comments relating to non-jurisdictional power lines, FERC concurred with the EA's conclusions that the power lines would not result in a significant environmental impact and noted that FERC does not have the authority to impose mitigation measures on non-jurisdictional facilities. In addition, FERC agreed with the EA's conclusion that Rockies Express's potable water line would not result in significant environmental impacts and stated that FERC has no authority to require mitigation measures on water lines for private landowners. FERC further concluded that, based on the EA's determination that the project would not result in significant environmental impacts relating to GHG emissions, no mitigation measures for the reduction of GHG emissions were necessary. Finally, FERC found that imposition of additional measures to address methane leakage was not warranted. Accordingly, FERC concluded that approval of the East-to-West Expansion Project would not constitute a major federal action.

A copy of the order is available here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.