Utility wants to replace, expand gas pipeline

Algonquin Gas Transmission is seeking to expand and replace pipeline in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York to meet growing demand for natural gas in the region.

The project would include replacement of a 9.1-mile stretch of pipeline in New London County with a larger capacity pipeline. The current line begins north of the Greeneville section of Norwich and continues southeast to the Rhode Island border. The project would also include laying a new 2.4-mile section to connect two sections west of the Thames River around Montville.

Elsewhere in the state, the company is seeking to add three small sections near Kensington, Oxford and Chaplin to connect sections of existing line across the state, and a new 9.1-mile stretch between a line in Willimantic and the line near Greeneville.

The company, based in Houston, submitted documents about the project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission June 18. On Thursday, FERC approved the company's filing, which will initiate a review of the project by the agency prior to a formal application being filed to iron out any issues in advance.

The complete application would be filed by February. The company hopes to begin using the new line by the end of 2016. The additional capacity would supply natural gas to gas service companies including Yankee Gas, NSTAR Gas Co., Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas, according to FERC documents. The documents note the Comprehensive Energy Strategy recently approved by the Connecticut legislature, which calls for the expansion of gas service in the state to supply 300,0000 additional customers.

The entire four-state project would impact 462 landowners, who have been contacted by Algonquin, according to the FERC documents. Field surveys of the properties are scheduled to be completed by September. The company has also been hosting informational meetings for landowners, and will plans to host additional meetings in July and August.

The documents listed dozens of federal, state and local officials being contacted about the project, including the Norwich and Montville inland wetlands commissions, town officials in Norwich and Franklin and the Mashantucket, Mohegan and Eastern Pequot tribes.

j.benson@theday.com

For more information

FERC documents on the project can be found elibrary.ferc.gov. Click "Docket Search" and type "PF13-16" in "Docket number."

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