A major natural gas shipping company is studying the potential installation of a 60-mile extension pipeline from the Town of Union to the Syracuse area.
Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC on May 9 sent letters to officials in municipalities along its path notifying them of the preliminary plans, which company spokesman Steven Sullivan said are in their early stages.
“We’ve had significant interest from our customers, on an informal basis, wanting us to be able to move gas northward,” Sullivan said. “There are some lines up near Syracuse into which we can interconnect, and that would increase the robustness of the entire system.”
The current Millennium Pipeline runs nearly 200 miles along the New York-Pennsylvania border, bisecting Broome County as it shuttles natural gas produced in areas including Pennsylvania’s swath of the Marcellus Shale eastward to major metropolitan markets.
Millennium on May 8 released a solicitation to potential natural gas suppliers to formally gauge interest in the possible pipeline, which would connect with the existing Millennium Pipeline in the Town of Union and reach the Tennessee Pipeline in the Town of Onondaga, outside Syracuse.
Officials in the Broome County towns of Union, Maine, Nanticoke and Lisle have been sent letters notifying them of the company’s preliminary plans.
Sullivan said increased production and use of natural gas across the United States, as well as the conversion of power plants from coal and oil to natural gas, has helped drive the need for transmission pipelines.
The company has not yet released an estimated cost of the proposed pipeline.
Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, said the installation of the pipeline would help provide tax revenue in addition to benefiting communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access.
“They can get natural gas to their school districts and areas where they didn’t have it before,” he said.
Fitzsimmons noted the financial impacts of the installation of the Laser pipeline through 9.5 miles of the Town of Windsor, which increased the town’s total assessed value by $29.8 million. The boost to the tax base was responsible for a 5.8 percent reduction in tax bills sent to most property owners in the Windsor Central School District last fall, and will continue to affect school and town tax bills in coming years.
Sue Lisk, founding member of Concerned Citizens of Maine, said she is “gravely concerned” about the impacts of gas drilling infrastructure on health and land values.
“We see and hear of numerous accidents, unprecedented levels of radiation associated with Marcellus Shale, and the gas industry’s blatant disregard for rules and regulations,” she said in a statement.
If Millennium moves forward with its plans for what it’s calling the “Upstate Pipeline,” it would join a host of other current and proposed natural gas transmission lines passing through Broome. They include the Laser pipeline in the Town of Windsor; Pennsylvania-based EmKey Gathering LLC’s proposed pipeline through the towns of Colesville and Sanford; DTE Energy’s Bluestone Pipeline in eastern Broome County; and the Constitution Pipeline proposed last year by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Williams Partners LP.
The solicitation period for the Millennium project ends May 31. After that, the company will make a decision about whether to file formal applications with state and federal regulatory agencies in a permitting process that may take more than a year, Sullivan said.