FERC issues draft EIS on Rockies Express East pipeline

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 28 -- A proposed 639-mile natural gas pipeline from Missouri to Ohio would have limited environmental impacts with appropriate mitigating measures, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's staff concluded in a draft environmental impact statement Nov. 23.

The draft EIS covered Rockies Express Pipeline LLC's planned Rockies Express (REX) East project, the eastern portion of a planned $4.4 billion, 1,679-mile system that would transport as much as 1.8 bcfd of gas from Rio Blanco County, Colo., to markets in the Midwest.

In addition to the 42-in pipeline, FERC said, the REX East draft EIS covers the possible environmental impacts of 20 metering stations and 7 new compressor stations, including 2 to be built along the Rockies Express pipeline's western segment in Wyoming and Nebraska.

It noted that the REX East project would follow existing rights-of-way for more than 59% of its route and would be consistent with or conform to federal resource management plans. The horizontal directional drilling construction method would be used to cross environmentally sensitive areas, and Rockies Express plans to use agricultural inspectors to help it safeguard agricultural operations along the pipeline's route during construction, the draft EIS said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2008, with targeted partial service of the pipeline, meter stations, and most compressor stations by the following December. Full service is expected by June 2009, Rockies Express said. The company is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Sempra Energy subsidiary Sempra Pipelines & Storage, and ConocoPhillips.

FERC said that commissioners will consider staff recommendations and the final EIS when they make a final decision on the REX East project.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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