On May 20, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released an environmental assessment for the Buckeye XPress Project, which would help move gas between Vinton, Jackson, Gallia, and Lawrence counties in Ohio and Wayne County in West Virginia. The assessment found that the proposed project, along with its mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. In short, what that means is that the project is safe and likely to get approved without more costly and time-consuming environmental reviews.
Appalachia has plenty of natural gas, but it continues to need better ways to move that gas around. TransCanada’s Columbia Gas Transmission system transports an average of 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day through 12,000 miles of pipes. That includes distribution lines to customers as well as large transmission lines and numerous underground storage fields. The Buckeye XPress would expand the capacity of existing transmission lines.
To be specific, the Buckeye XPress project would replace 64 miles of existing 20 and 24 inch diameter pipe transporting natural gas from major production areas to regional markets in Ohio and throughout the United States. TransCanada says these replacements are part of their stated commitment to replacing aging infrastructure to ensure safety and reliability. The expansion has created some opposition from environmental groups that are seeking to restrict any expansion of oil and gas production. That seems unlikely to slow this project, though.
The Environmental Assessment is available for public comment until June 19, 2019. Comments can be filed electronically or mailed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, citing Docket Number CP18-137.
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