Today, federal regulators gave their final approval to Williams Partners to start construction of a $3 billion pipeline which will carry natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Southern states. It will create a 197 mile stretch of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania and create some 2,300 construction jobs in the Columbia and Wyoming counties.
The existing Transco natural gas pipeline will be expanded to reach the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US Markets.
Mr Michael Dunn, the Chief Operating Officer of Williams Partners overseeing construction, commented: “As we begin construction of the greenfield facilities, we are committed to installing this infrastructure in a safe, environmentally responsible manner and in full compliance with rigorous state and federal environmental permits and standards. Our construction personnel are experienced, highly-qualified professionals who have undergone extensive training to ensure that this important project is installed safely and responsibly.”
Once construction begins (effective start date is 25 September as the contractor needs time to mobilize the necessary equipment and begin site preparation), the pipeline will take about 10 months to complete. The $3 billion project should then go into full service by the summer of 2018.
The project was contested for a while as a group of nuns were afraid their chapel would be affected. For this reason, a religious freedom lawsuit against pipeline owner Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. and FERC was filed in federal court by the Catholic order of nuns of Columbia. But Jack Stockton, spokesman for Williams Partners, said the lawsuit by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ “does not affect our right to start pipeline construction as scheduled.”
The company is trying to find an amicable solution with the nuns who simply don’t want to see their outdoor chapel, which stands in a cornfield, removed because of construction of the pipeline. Mr Stockton commented: “We will likely work through their attorney to relay our construction schedule once it is finalized.”
We are sure are the construction workers getting jobs thanks to this project will be lighting a candle for those nuns.