Open meeting discusses proposed pipeline project
HUGHESVILLE – About 30 property owners will be affected for a proposed pipeline project measuring 3.55 miles in length, 42 inches in diameter, and located mostly in eastern Lycoming County. It is called the Leidy South Project and it is part of the proposed expansion project of Transco Williams’ existing lines. The property owners were sent a letter prior to an open meeting held in mid-December for the public at the Hughesville Fire hall.
Representatives were on hand to answer questions and present an overview of the project. It is part of the Transco interstate pipeline which claims a 40 percent of the transportation of natural gas in the Commonwealth and the largest pipeline system in Lycoming County.
This section of pipeline refers to the Benton Loop (Line D) and the Williams energy company is in the pre-filing stage for regulatory operations. Beginning this year they hope to file a certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) according to Chris Stockton, public spokesperson for Williams. “We have about 9500 miles in infrastructure here in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We are creating jobs, mostly construction and restorative work.” He also mentioned local landscapers and environmental consultants will be used. “It will require a lot of resources,” Stockton said.
The FERC is the leading federal agency responsible for conducting the environmental review of the process as explained by David Hanobic, a representative with FERC and also declared he grew up in Renovo, PA. “The pre-filing is a long process,” he said.
Landowners were given fair market value for their construction work space according to Stockton.
A few landowners present expressed concern. Sheila Lunger who lives on State Route 239 for the past 47 years is worried about the pollution, noise, traffic and eroding. She recalled an event in June of 2015 when part of the existing pipeline ruptured in Jordan Township near Bradley Road. “It destroyed trees around it,” she said, not to mention the loud booming noise it made.
The original pipeline known as Line A was built in 1957 and crossed into Lycoming County. B line which starts in Cameron County was added in 1960, and in 1970 C line was added due to a higher demand in natural gas. The Leidy Hub Station 535 in Cameron County now has 5 lines. This is all part of the Marcellus Shale area and after Texas, Pennsylvania is the leading producer of natural gas.
Williams Company told the landowners, “This is an enhancement to one large system.” Due to a higher supply and demand, additional natural gas can be moved.
The open public meeting presented an opportunity to “figure out what to avoid.” Information was provided on permits, acquiring easements, maps of the project, safety control, cultural resources, federal regulations, storage facilities and more.
Another affected property owner who lived there for 26 years is concerned about some of the trees they want to remove from his fifty plus acreage. Therefore, wildlife, plant and soil management needs to be taken into consideration.
Hannobic, who will be the outreach project manager from the FERC said the use of the land and air are important. “We review all applications carefully before a decision is made,” he said. “There will be an environmental analysis of all impacts.”
There is a prefiling process to identify issues in the design of these facilities which began in November 2018. This summer the FERC applications will be due for an anticipated, early construction start in 2021 so that customers can have target service by the winter of 2022.