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NGL pipeline plan still on hold

Plans to repurpose a 964-mile natural gas pipeline, about 20 miles of which runs through Boyle County, are still on hold as of Monday.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company is still “not in a position to prepare and file its implementation plan” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to a status report filed with FERC Monday. This is the fourth such update Tennessee Gas has provided since accepting approval from FERC to stop using Tennessee Gas Pipeline No. 1 for natural gas.

As with all prior updates, Tennessee Gas states that, “due to the length of time that has passed since Tennessee filed its application and uncertainty in current market conditions, Tennessee is working to confirm the degree of market interest in the project.”

Tennessee Gas is owned by Houston-based energy giant Kinder Morgan. Under the plan approved by FERC, Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline LLC — another Kinder Morgan-owned company — would buy the pipeline from Tennessee Gas and use it to transport natural gas liquids (NGLs), which are byproducts of fracking in shale fields in the northeast.

Tennessee Gas first applied to abandon the pipeline in February 2015. FERC issued an order granting abandonment of the pipeline just over a year ago, on Sept. 29, 2017. Tennessee Gas accepted FERC’s order on Oct. 30, 2017, noting then as it did Monday that the delay in approval and market conditions are preventing it from moving forward.

The implementation plan is required by FERC’s order; it must be submitted to and approved by the director of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects before any construction can begin, according to the order.

The plan must explain “construction procedures and mitigation measures;” tell how many environmental inspectors will be hired for the project and “how the company will ensure that sufficient personnel are available to implement environmental mitigation;” and list times and places where “all personnel involved with construction and restoration” will be given “environmental compliance training,” according to the order.