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Sen. Toomey Sends Letter Seeking Decision On NEPA Gas Pipeline

Wednesday, Sep 14

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) recently sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff to make a decision on the fate of a pipeline through Bradford, Lycoming and Sullivan counties.

The proposed MARC I line by the Central NY Oil and Gas Co. (CYNOG) will take natural gas from Central Pennsylvania and help transport it to other parts of Pennsylvania. Two-thirds of the MARC I pipeline's nearly $300 million investment will stay in the state.

"If this project is approved, it will create more than 600 construction jobs and provide much-needed infrastructure for Pennsylvania's natural gas resources. I urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to make a decision soon, as more delays will postpone the anticipated benefits of this project at a time when Pennsylvania needs the investment, jobs, and infrastructure," Sen. Toomey said.

Businesses in Pennsylvania thanked Sen. Toomey for asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to make a decision:

"The crew behind the MARC I project is a good customer, so when they won this contract, we reserved the equipment they'll need. Because of all of these delays in Washington, we've had to hold this equipment in reserve too long; it's time to get to work. As soon as we deliver this equipment, we can buy additional inventory from Caterpillar and that's what keeps our 1,500 employees busy," said Sean Donoghue, Pittsburgh and Erie sales manager for Cleveland Brothers in Cranberry Township.

"This project is vital to help promote the transportation and distribution of natural gas in Pennsylvania. Not only do we in Pennsylvania benefit from the availability of low-cost gas, but the installation of the pipeline will create a large number of good-paying jobs. Pennsylvania desperately needs the jobs this line will create and it will benefit from the gas the line will transport," said Wayne Norris, president of Dura-Bond Pipe in Steelton.

The full text of the Sept. 9 letter is below.

Sept. 9, 2011

The Honorable Jon Wellinghoff
Chairman
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 1st St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20426

Re: Docket No. CP10-480-000, MARC I Hub Line Project

Dear Chairman Wellinghoff:

I am writing to urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue its final decision on the MARC I Pipeline project in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. The MARC I project will serve as a long-term investment in vital energy infrastructure. It also holds enormous promise for Pennsylvania as an immediate generator of new jobs and economic growth.

The estimated economic benefits of this project are extraordinary. Two-thirds of the MARC I pipeline's nearly $300 million investment will stay in Pennsylvania providing a sorely needed economic boost. The pipeline construction alone will immediately create 600 new, high-paying jobs. Pennsylvania consumers will also benefit long-term as the pipeline will optimize competitive domestic natural gas supplies. It will bolster existing infrastructure serving the eastern interconnect and enhance America's energy independence and security by helping to ensure a safe and reliable supply of domestic natural gas.

As I understand, FERC Staff issued a 300-page Environmental Assessment (EA) in May finding that the MARC I project, with appropriate mitigating measures, does not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. We understand that, in the preparation of the EA, FERC worked diligently in an open, transparent process involving many stakeholders to ensure that the project will be undertaken within the strongest environmental and ecological considerations.

However, since FERC Staff issued this recommended approval, third parties are attempting to thwart FERC's authority and impair the economics of this critical energy infrastructure project. These parties are not impacted by the pipeline project itself; rather, they appear to be using a FERC proceeding in an effort to advocate and affect national energy policies and tangential issues associated with shale gas.

This is particularly concerning as we have learned that the construction schedule is precariously fragile and could easily force the construction of the pipeline to be delayed by a year or longer due to special accommodations for environmental concerns, including those associated with spawning fish and migrating birds. Delaying the final decision will most certainly delay the anticipated benefits of this project at a time when Pennsylvania direly needs the investment, jobs, and infrastructure.

I look forward to your response and would greatly appreciate you keeping our staff informed as you take your next steps.

Sincerely,

Pat Toomey
United States Senator

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