Williams Transco Slaps Down U.S. Army Corps of Engineers In Rockaway Pipeline DisputeMar 21st, 2013 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, NYC Natural Gas Infrastructure
The company seeking to build a natural gas pipeline through national park land near New York City dismissed safety recommendations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently, asserting instead that their own plans to build the pipeline to a lesser standard will provide “full protection of the pipeline while minimizing environmental impacts,” according to documents obtained by NaturalGasWatch.org.
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In a Feb. 5 letter to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company project manager Roberta Zweier, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Naomi Handell stated that, in addition to other requirements, offshore natural gas pipelines must be buried in a trench on the sea floor at a minimum depth of four feet.
In a March 19 response from Transco Manager of Land, Permits & GIS Timothy Powell, the company rejected the USACE recommendations, stating that digging the trench to a depth of four feet would needlessly delay the project and asserting that the federal safety regulations were, in their experience, overly burdensome.
A three-foot trench, Transco said, would be adequate.
From the Transco response:
To achieve the additional 1-foot of cover Transco would be required to excavate additional area on the sea floor which would increase both sedimentation and turbidity impacts over the current proposal and potentially result in a longer period for offshore construction. …
Also, Transco has extensive experience constructing and operating offshore pipelines. Throughout Transco’s offshore system the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has required 3 feet of cover for other projects in state and federal waters. Therefore, we believe our design balances full protection of the pipeline while minimizing environmental impacts. …
Transco believes the measures described above, which provide a depth of at least 3 feet of cover when fully implemented, provide a more than adequate level of protection. Transco has undertaken projects across its network of assets in other USACE districts and the implementation of a specific number for the depth of cover is varied; therefore Transco has premised the design as noted above on safety and security for operation as well as users of the area and sees both requirements being met with a burial depth of 3 feet below the seabed.
Under existing federal regulation, Transco cannot begin construction of the pipeline without approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
You can read the Feb. 5 letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here: USACE Rockaway Pipeline Info Request Feb. 5, 2013
You can read the full text of the Transco response here: Transco Response to USACE Info Request March 19, 2013
Transco, a division of Williams Partners LP, filed an application on Jan. 7 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking permission to build the controversial new natural gas distribution pipeline through national park land to bring additional natural gas supply from the hydraulic fracturing wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale Play into New York City.
Known as the Rockaway Lateral Line, the proposed 26-inch, high-pressure natural gas pipeline would run across wetlands in Jamaica Bay, through Jacob Riis Park beach and Floyd Bennett Field – where a new compressor station would be built – and on into Brooklyn near Flatbush Ave.