Northern Access Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.|
Northern Access Gas Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to New York.
The pipeline runs from Sergeant Township, McKean County, Pennsylvania, to Town of Wheatfield, Niagara County, N.Y.
- Operator: National Fuel Gas Company
- Proposed capacity: 490 million cubic feet per day 
- Length: 96.5 miles / 155.3 km
- Status: Proposed
- Cost: US$500 million
The Northern Access Gas pipeline is 98.5 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline, beginning from Sergeant Township, McKean County, Pa., to an existing Porterville Compressor Station in the Town of Elma, Erie County, N.Y. It interconnects with Tennessee Gas Pipeline in the Town of Wales, Erie County, N.Y. The pipeline ends at natural gas dehydration facility on Liberty Drive in the Town of Wheatfield, Niagara County, N.Y. 
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the pipeline in early February of 2017. In April of 2017 the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced it would deny water quality permits for the pipeline. It did so after three lengthy public hearings in the affected region. DEC said its decision to deny water permits was based on an opinion that the project didn’t adequately protect wetlands, waterways and wildlife. The decision came after the agency fielded 5,700 comments from concerned citizens over the course of the three hearings. In response, National Fuel confirmed in late April that it’s appealing DEC’s decision. National Fuel has since filed requests with FERC for action to determine whether Northern Access can proceed without DEC’s approval. 
In August of 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected requests to review its decision allowing construction of the 99-mile Northern Access Pipeline, overruling a New York decision to deny water quality permits to the project. FERC claimed that New York waived its authority to award permits to the pipeline by not issuing a decision within one year, denying an appeal from the state and environmental groups. Commissioner Richard Glick dissented on the 4-1 decision. The decision comes after FERC in July 2018 declined to overturn a similar New York decision to deny permits for the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline, which was planned to deliver gas from Pennsylvania into the state.
In August of 2019, National Fuel asked federal regulators to issue another order overturning the state Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) opposition to the Northern Access natural gas pipeline. Earlier the same month, the DEC filed a second formal rejection of a water quality permit for the pipeline. National Fuel lawyers argue that by missing the original 2017 deadline to reject the company's 2016 request for a water quality permit, the DEC forfeited all authority over the pipeline.
Articles and resources
- Northern Access Gas Pipeline, National Fuel, accessed January 2018
- "FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION APPROVES NATIONAL FUEL'S $455 MILLION NORTHERN ACCESS PROJECT" National Fuel Gas Company accessed January 2018
- National Fuel Gas Company Statement on FERC Ruling for the Northern Access Project National Fuel, accessed January 2018
- "No. 9 in '17: Northern Access project at a standstill" The Lockport Journal accessed January 2018
- "FERC denies rehearing on Northern Access pipeline, overruling New York decision" Utility Dive, accessed May 2019
- Thomas J. Prohaska, National Fuel asks feds to again squelch DEC rejection of Northern Access pipeline The Buffalo News, August 28, 2019