National Fuel Gas Company Statement on FERC Ruling for the Northern Access Project
Written By: Stratton Report
August 8, 2018
We are pleased with the recent ruling which removes a major barrier for an important project that will provide consumers with increased access to abundant energy supplies, while also improving reliability and resiliency of the energy grid. We remain committed to the Project, and due to the significant delay caused by the actions of the state agency, our team is developing a revised timeline including reviewing the status of various other relevant permits.
FERC ruled that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation waived its right to review the Northern Access Project’s application for a crucial Clean Water Act permit by failing to act within a year of receiving it. The DEC denied the permit in April 2017.
The Northern Access Project represents an approximate $500 million investment by National Fuel in the local economies of New York and Pennsylvania while adding essential new infrastructure to the U.S. natural gas pipeline grid. Job totals will peak during the construction phase as the Project’s workforce is estimated at nearly 1,700 jobs. Annual property tax receipts related to the Project are estimated at approximately $11.8 million, with an additional one-time sales tax impact of greater than $8 million.
In addition to these more discrete benefits, the Northern Access Project will help assure access to a substantial supply of low-cost energy. The development of vast natural gas reserves has markedly decreased the average winter heating bills of customers in Western New York. During the winter of 2005-2006, when natural gas was supplied primarily from the Southwest and Canada, the average residential bill totaled approximately $1,200 for the winter heating season alone. During the winter of 2017-2018, average residential bills were approximately $560 for the five-month winter stretch. With an average of 482,000 residential customers across the N.Y. service territory, more than $300 million in energy savings was achieved for the Utility’s customers this year, utilizing critical infrastructure owned and operated by National Fuel.
For more than three years, the Northern Access Project has been extensively reviewed by various federal and state regulatory agencies as the proposed project design incorporated best management practices while producing thousands of pages of technical analysis, months of collaboration, community outreach and compromise, all within the scope of National Fuel’s proven track record of responsible development. Throughout its 115 years, National Fuel has consistently protected water quality and water supplies in Western New York and Pennsylvania. Like the dozens of natural gas pipeline projects it constructs yearly, the Northern Access Project will use construction techniques which are protective of the environment and will not put at risk or endanger water supplies.
Throughout the Project’s review, the Company has committed to meet or exceed safety codes and environmental protection requirements.
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