Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

French Creek Gas Line Sparks Concerns

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

French Creek Gas Line Sparks Concerns

Article excerpt

A proposed Marcellus Shale gas pipeline project under French Creek, just across the Pennsylvania border in southwestern New York, puts at risk endangered freshwater mussels in one of the nation's most ecologically diverse waterways, according to the Allegheny Defense Project.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing a February proposal by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to build a 3.1 mile, 30- inch pipeline loop in Chautauqua County, N.Y., including a section that would be bored under the headwaters of the stream that flows south into Pennsylvania.

The environmental organization said the federal agency's environmental assessment of the project fails to address the risk to the creek's five endangered species of freshwater mussels or the cumulative impact of multiple pipeline projects in the region.

"FERC assumes that because the company is boring the pipeline under the stream there are no impacts, but that doesn't take into account the risks that its construction could go wrong or that it could rupture under the creek," said Ryan Talbott, an Allegheny Defense coordinator.

"And these pipeline projects are radiating out of Pennsylvania like spokes on a wheel into new England, Canada and the Gulf [of Mexico] states, but FERC doesn't want to look at the cumulative impacts of all of these projects."

A significant leak in the pipeline under the creek could cause methane to displace oxygen in the water and put species dependent on oxygen at risk.

Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, the Houston- based energy company that bought Tennessee Pipeline in 2012, said the company's plans to bore under the creek will minimize impact to the creek and adjacent wetlands.

The pipeline loop expansion will facilitate transportation of additional Marcellus Shale gas to northern New York and Tennessee Gas Pipeline's connection with Trans Canada Pipeline near Niagara, New York. …

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