HOUSTON, May 1, 2002 — Duke Energy’s Patriot natural gas pipeline project has achieved another regulatory milestone with the receipt of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The DEIS, issued April 26, confirms that “construction and operation of the project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts.”
The $289 million Patriot project will transport natural gas along a planned 94-mile pipeline route — the Patriot Extension — in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as through expansion of the company’s existing East Tennessee Natural Gas system in Tennessee. East Tennessee Natural Gas is a unit of Duke Energy Gas Transmission (DEGT), the Houston-based division of Duke Energy responsible for the company’s North American natural gas pipeline operations.
“We are pleased that FERC has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Patriot project after a comprehensive and thorough review of routing and environmental issues,” said Robert B. Evans, president and chief executive officer of DEGT.
Evans added that East Tennessee Natural Gas evaluated numerous route alternatives for the Patriot extension portion of the project, concluding that the proposed route filed last July with FERC provides the best balance between landowners, the environment and customer needs. Since then, 36 route re- alignments to the Patriot extension have been incorporated into the proposed route and more are currently under evaluation.
“These minor route adjustments are being made in response to landowner feedback, as well as our evaluation of ongoing environmental and engineering studies,” Evans said. “We plan to continue working with all stakeholders to adjust the route to minimize the impact on landowners and the environment while still meeting the market demand and timing.”
FERC evaluated 12 alternate routes for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and designated nine as “not recommended.” The agency has asked for public comment on the remaining three routes, all of which are limited deviations from the route originally filed with FERC. That route begins in Wythe County, Va., crosses Carroll, Patrick and Henry counties, before ending in Rockingham County, N.C. The extension also crosses a very small section of Floyd County, Va.
A Final Environmental Impact Statement will be issued by FERC after a 45- day public comment period. Prior to any construction on the project, FERC must issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The initial in-service date is May 1, 2003.
Last month, FERC issued a Preliminary Determination order that confirmed the Patriot project is needed to meet the energy needs of the growing southeast United States.
More information on the project can be found at www.patriotextension.com.
Duke Energy Gas Transmission is a North American leader in developing energy infrastructure and connecting major natural gas supply basins to growing markets. The company’s natural gas operations include more than 18,900 miles of interstate transmission pipeline and 240 billion cubic feet of storage capacity in Canada and the United States. More information about DEGT is available on the Internet at www.degt.duke-energy.com.
Duke Energy, a diversified multinational energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses generating revenues of more than $59 billion in 2001. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.