Federal regulators will study the possible environmental impacts of a proposed $3 billion natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is in charge of interstate pipelines, plans to hold four public meetings in August in Pennsylvania counties the pipeline would go through.

The pipeline, called the Atlantic Sunrise Project, would be an expansion of the Transco Pipeline, operated by Oklahoma-based Williams Partners, and would connect Marcellus Shale gas to the East Coast and parts of the South.

Williams wants to snake about 178 miles of new pipeline through 10 counties in Central Pennsylvania: Northumberland, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Clinton, Lycoming, Columbia, Lancaster, Lebanon and Luzerne.

Residents and environmental groups have expressed concerns about the project over the past few months after a series of accidents at Williams-owned facilities. Those include a March 31 explosion at a liquified natural gas storage facility in Washington state, which injured five workers, and an April 23 explosion at a natural gas processing plant in Wyoming that led to evacuations but no injuries.

Last year, PublicSource wrote about another proposed Williams pipeline, the Bluegrass Pipeline, that would have carried natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania through Kentucky and down to the Gulf. There was an outcry from some Kentucky landowners about the safety and possible environmental impacts of that project. The project was suspended indefinitely in late April.

According to Citizens Voice, a PublicSource news partner, FERC will accept comments (they can be submitted online at www.ferc.gov) until Aug. 18 to advise its staff on what issues it should examine about the Atlantic Sunrise Project.

From Citizens Voice:

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, FERC must weigh the project’s environmental effects before approving it. The agency is drafting an environmental impact statement, which involves a more stringent review process than a simple environmental assessment.

According to StateImpact Pennsylvania, also a PublicSource partner, the dates and times of the meetings are:

All of the meetings will be from 7 to 10 p.m. (Williams representatives will available at an open house from 6-7 p.m., prior to the FERC meeting) :

Monday, August 4: Lancaster County

Millersville University

Student Memorial Center

21 South George Street

Millersville, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, August 5: Lebanon County

Lebanon Valley College

Lutz Hall

101 North College Avenue

Annville, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, August 6: Columbia County

Bloomsburg University

Haas Center for the Arts

400 East Second Street

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

Thursday, August 7: Luzerne County

Lake Lehmon High School

1128 Old Route 115

Dallas, Pennsylvania

Reach Natasha Khan at 412-315-0261 or nkhan@publicsource.org.

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