Today FERC was supposed to release a Final EIS on the Atlantic Sunrise project, a mammoth 177 mile long 42″ natural gas pipeline project. The project has already been significantly delayed, but there was hope they could proceed apace from here on out.
The day before the FEIS was due, FERC released a notice that it was delaying the FEIS by two months. See it here:
Bloomberg reported that the delay is due this:
The change came after the commission said last week it was giving some landowners until Nov. 14 to comment on new route alternatives, news that sent shares of Williams and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., a would-be shipper on the line, sliding on
speculation the line would be delayed.
However, the actual notice notes that the delay is due to this:
Based on additional information filed by Transco, however, we intend to issue a draft General Conformity Determination for the Atlantic Sunrise Project with a 30-day comment period
A General Conformity Determination is often filed in relation to the EPA and the Clean Air Act. There is speculation that FERC is caving in under strong pressure by the EPA to use revised guidelines in calculating Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, and that FERC needs to calculate all impacts, including those up and downstream of the project.
If this is a general sea change in FERC, then we can expect to see a similar delay on PennEast. No guarantees on that, but seeing a FEIS delayed like this is a very good sign for us. More delays mean more uncertainty, more cost, and more possibility of the project owners giving up.