Columbia Gas is planning to widen its existing pipeline corridor that stretches from Owings Mills to Fallston (Harford County). They plan to expand the width of the 21-mile corridor from its current 50′ to 75′, and are currently evaluating a 200′ corridor to identify the best route. Their plan is to have a dual pipeline for this segment to provide redundancy needed to ensure steady and reliable service.

There is currently a dual line stretching from Ellicott City to 795, where it then continues as a single line to Fallston. The existing corridor runs through Stevenson University and Rosewood, the VA cemetery, Hunting Tweed subdivision, Caves Golf Course, Chestnut Ridge Country Store, across Greenspring Avenue to Ridge Road, through the Beaverbrooke subdivision, across Falls Road and the Dellwood Court subdivision, into Oregon Ridge Park, through Hayfileds Country Club, then turns north along I-83 through Loveton before continuing west towards Harford County.

The Company is currently doing the scoping for the environmental assessment. They are willing to meet with property owners and will also, upon request, stake out the proposed corridor to better inform residents of potential impacts to their property. Key concerns to property owners are increased safety risks, interference with wells and septics, removal of trees, impacts to historic and preserved properties, blasting, temporary construction areas, and stream crossings. According to company reps, agricultural land can continue to be cultivated once the line is in place, and they offer three years’ worth of payments for crop loss.

Columbia hopes to start building the new line in March of 2013. They anticipate that during construction, each property owner would be disturbed for a period of two to six weeks and that the entire project would take six months to complete.

Once the scoping for the environmental assessment is done (May 16), the company will make a formal application for a Certificate of Need and Public Necessity (CNPC). That is expected to happen in mid-August. When the application is filed, interested parties have 21 days to file as an intervenor. An intervenor becomes a participant in the FERC proceeding and has the right to request a rehearing of Commission orders and seek relief of final agency actions in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Additional information can be found on the FERC website (Docet Number PF12-06) or by calling Columbia’s local contact:

Alex Oehler
Director, Government Affairs and Community Relations
NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage
10 G Street, NE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 216-9772 (office)
(202) 841-6059 (cellular)

VPC staff is involved in meetings with the gas company, discussions with elected officials, and evaluation of the need for this project as well as its environmental and community impacts. Comments from affected landowners are appreciated.