Yesterday I went out on a limb and predicted that the FEIS would be delayed at least 60 days. For a lot of reasons – because of the new 30 day public comment period announced last week, the document filed yesterday by FERC asking PennEast for answers to 46 complex questions, and the general pushback from many government agencies against FERC.
I’m happy to say I got lucky on this one, and today FERC officially announced the Final EIS will be delayed by 60 days. Read it here:
The Notice looks like it was rushed out the door and is full of errors and inconsistencies. I think FERC is really feeling the heat on PennEast and other pipelines, and we’re seeing them crack under pressure. The notice says:
This notice identifies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) staff’s revised schedule for the completion of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC’s (PennEast) PennEast Pipeline Project. The first notice of schedule, issued on March 29, 2016, identified December 16, 2016 as the EIS issuance date. Based on new route modifications filed by PennEast. The Commission staff intend to issue a notice to newly affected landowners. Commission staff has therefore revised the schedule for issuance of the final EIS.
As you can see it resembles English but has some issues when you look more closely. The actual schedule is listed below that, and says:
Issuance of Notice of Availability of the final EIS: February 17, 2017
90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline: May 18, 2017
This is great news for us. Everything is now pushed back a minimum of two more months, and given timing of various activities that are constrained due to environmental issues, this could be another 6 month or a year delay.
Remember, PennEast originally thought they’d already have a Certificate by now. Now it’s pushed off at least six months from now.
I think it also may not be a coincidence that this dropped on Election day in the United States. FERC is down to only 3 commissioners (of their usual 5), and those three people must really feel the pressure. I’m guessing they’re going to wait until they have a new President installed and some new members appointed before they make a decision.
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