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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Empire eyes $43M pipeline in Steuben County

  • Negotiations are beginning with local landowners on Empire Pipeline's proposed new 17-mile-long natural gas pipeline, which would cut through the Steuben County towns of Tuscarora, Lindley and Caton.
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  • Negotiations are beginning with local landowners on Empire Pipeline’s proposed new 17-mile-long natural gas pipeline, which would cut through the Steuben County towns of Tuscarora, Lindley and Caton.
    Empire Pipeline, a subsidiary of Buffalo-based National Fuel Gas Corp., is seeking approval for the $43 million project - known as the Tuscorara Lateral Project - from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    The surveying work has been completed, the route has been mapped out, and the company hopes to win approval from FERC by this fall, said Empire Pipeline spokeswoman Sandra James.
    “We'll start clearing and grading in the fall of 2014, and we hope to start actual construction in the spring of 2015, with a target in-service date of November 2015,” James said.
    The project is expected to create about 245 temporary construction jobs.
    The new pipeline would connect a gas storage field and compressor station in Tuscarora - also owned by a National Fuel Gas Corp. subsidiary - with the existing Empire Pipeline network, which lies in the shape of a giant “T” that connects Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester, and extends south to Corning.
    The project will allow for additional gas to be available to the utilities which in turn serve homes and businesses in western New York.
    “The benefit of natural gas storage is - like with this cold winter that we’ve had - you can draw on that during high peak days,” James said. “So it helps us meet that increased demand when the weather is very, very cold.”
    The company is seeking 50-foot-wide right-of-ways from approximately 75 landowners in Tuscarora, Lindley and Caton. Most of the pipeline will be 16 inches in diameter, with a short section of 20-inch pipeline.
    The company also wants to add 1,384 horsepower of compression at the Tuscarora compressor station and build a new metering station there.
    Crews will have to drill underneath the Tioga River as the pipeline route crosses through the southern part of Lindley.
    This is the second major project in the area by Empire Pipeline in the past few years.
    The company extended the bottom of its T-shaped network 16 miles from Corning through Caton to a compressor station in Jackson Township, Pa., to bring up gas from Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier.
    During that project, Empire Pipeline began eminent domain proceedings in state Supreme Court against eight holdout landowners in Caton and Corning but later negotiated settlements.
    During the construction phase, some landowners threatened legal action, saying the work led to flooding that washed out driveways and yards and damaged pools and ponds. The work also temporarily created large pits that were hazardous, some said.
    That pipeline segment went into service in November 2011.
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