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Federal Regulators Advance Natural Gas Pipeline Proposal in Arkansas

Fri April 11, 2008 - Southeast Edition
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A federal regulatory agency said a proposed 167-mi. (269 km) natural gas pipeline that would run across Arkansas from Conway County to Helena/West Helena would be “environmentally acceptable.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final environmental impact statement for the pipeline that Kentucky-based Texas Gas Transmission is planning to transport gas from the Fayetteville Shale play in north-central Arkansas. The pipeline, estimated to cost $360 million, would connect to another Texas Gas line across the Mississippi River.

The commission still has to rule on whether to give the pipeline a green light.

The pipeline also would need approval from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers, plus it must be reviewed by a number of other agencies.

Texas Gas’ proposal said the line in Arkansas, known as the Fayetteville Lateral, would carry 853 million cu. ft. (24 million cu m) of natural gas per day.

The Fayetteville Lateral is part of a Texas Gas expansion project that also includes building a new pipeline in Mississippi, starting at Greenville and ending at Kosciusko. The project would cover 260 mi. (418 km) in all. Another 751 million cu. ft. (21 million cu m) per day would travel through the Mississippi line, known as the Greenville Lateral. The projects are being reviewed together before the FERC.

Company plans show the pipeline could be operating as soon as next year.

Texas Gas pipelines extend 5,900 mi. (9,495 km) through nine states and carry gas to U.S. markets in the South, Midwest and Northeast.

The FERC report, issued March 7, includes a number of changes that regulators want Texas Gas to make to its plan for the line. The agency said that to build the pipeline, Texas Gas would have to implement erosion control, mitigate impacts to wetlands and have plans in place to minimize impacts to wildlife and plants as well as plans to prevent pollution.

Texas Gas, headquartered in Owensboro, Ky., would use horizontal drilling to cross sensitive areas, such as waterways.

The company would need to acquire rights of way for about half the project’s length in Arkansas, the report said. The environmental report said 90 mi. (145 km) of the pipeline would be built along existing rights of way.

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