FERC Again Weighs Climate Impacts, Approves NatGas Pipeline Projects

(P&GJ) ­— Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners approved two pipeline projects from Northern Natural Gas Company and Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company, agreeing that their climate impacts should not be significant.

FERC commissioners approved these projects by a 3-2 vote during this month’s meeting. The vote is the same that it was in March, when the commission for the first time considered a proposed pipeline project’s potential greenhouse gas emissions.

FERC’s meeting agenda shows it authorized new interstate natural gas facilities for Northern Natural’s project to expand capacity by constructing and operating certain pipeline, compression, and auxiliary facilities in Dakota, Scott, Carlton, Morrison, and Pine counties, Minnesota. Northern Natural’s Northern Lights 2021 project is expected to be in service in November, according to the website.

The commission also granted authority for replacement facilities for Tuscarora Gas’ request to replace one 600 horsepower (hp) compressor unit with one 1,380 hp compressor unit in Washoe County, Nevada (Tuscarora XPress Project), the meeting summary shows. The project will provide additional transportation from an existing interconnect with Gas Transmission Northwest in Klamath County, Oregon, to an existing interconnect with Paiute Pipeline Company in Washoe County, Nevada.

These projects were “poised to be rejected” before Commissioner James Danly proposed a last minute amendment, Utility Dive reported.

“The amendment offered a single sentence, tacked onto each of the certificate orders for the two pipelines: ‘The forgoing analysis of greenhouse gas emissions is offered for informational purposes only, does not inform any part of this order’s holding, and shall not serve as precedent for any future certificate order,’” the article states.

FERC is conducting a broader review of how it approves gas infrastructure, Danly said.

Chairman Richard Glick and Commissioner Allison Clements voted against the two projects’ approval with Glick noting the projects had “significantly higher” emissions impacts than Northern Natural’s A-Line Replacement project the commission approved in March, Utility Dive reported.

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