Northern Access Gas Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Northern Access Gas Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to New York.[1]


The pipeline runs from Sergeant Township, McKean County, Pennsylvania, to Town of Wheatfield, Niagara County, N.Y.[2]

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Project Details

  • Operator: National Fuel Gas Company
  • Proposed capacity: 497 million cubic feet per day[3]
  • Length: 101 miles / 162.5 km[3]
  • Status: Proposed
  • Cost: US$455 million[3]
  • Proposed Start Year: 2022-2023[3]


The Northern Access Gas pipeline is 98.5 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline, beginning from Sergeant Township, McKean County, Pa., to an existing Porterville Compressor Station in the Town of Elma, Erie County, N.Y. It interconnects with Tennessee Gas Pipeline in the Town of Wales, Erie County, N.Y. The pipeline ends at natural gas dehydration facility on Liberty Drive in the Town of Wheatfield, Niagara County, N.Y.[1]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the pipeline in early February of 2017. In April of 2017 the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced it would deny water quality permits for the pipeline. It did so after three lengthy public hearings in the affected region. DEC said its decision to deny water permits was based on an opinion that the project didn’t adequately protect wetlands, waterways and wildlife. The decision came after the agency fielded 5,700 comments from concerned citizens over the course of the three hearings. In response, National Fuel confirmed in late April that it’s appealing DEC’s decision. National Fuel has since filed requests with FERC for action to determine whether Northern Access can proceed without DEC’s approval. [4]

In August of 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected requests to review its decision allowing construction of the 99-mile Northern Access Pipeline, overruling a New York decision to deny water quality permits to the project. FERC claimed that New York waived its authority to award permits to the pipeline by not issuing a decision within one year, denying an appeal from the state and environmental groups. Commissioner Richard Glick dissented on the 4-1 decision. The decision comes after FERC in July 2018 declined to overturn a similar New York decision to deny permits for the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline, which was planned to deliver gas from Pennsylvania into the state.[5]

In August of 2019, National Fuel asked federal regulators to issue another order overturning the state Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) opposition to the Northern Access natural gas pipeline. Earlier the same month, the DEC filed a second formal rejection of a water quality permit for the pipeline. National Fuel lawyers argue that by missing the original 2017 deadline to reject the company's 2016 request for a water quality permit, the DEC forfeited all authority over the pipeline.[2]

In June 2020, New York state’s highest court ruled that the Natural Fuel Gas Supply Corp could condemn the private property of a New York couple to make way for the gas pipeline. The New York Court of Appeals 4-2 decision, which comes despite state authorities having denied the required water quality certification for the project, overturned a lower court ruling. The high court determined that an exception under the Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL) excused the natural gas company from holding a public hearing about the project’s public benefits and its environmental effects.[6]

Expansion Projects

FM 100 Expansion Project

The National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation (National Fuel) has proposed an expansion project to modernize a segment of its system in McKean, Potter, Elk, Clearfield and Cameron counties in Pennsylvania. The project includes the installation of approximately 28.9 miles of new 12 or 16-inch pipeline in Sergeant, Norwich, and Liberty Townships in McKean County, and Roulette, Pleasant Valley, Clara, Hebron Townships in Potter County, installation of the new Marvindale natural gas compressor station in Sergeant Township in McKean County, and installation of a new interconnection in Hebron Township in Potter County, Pennsylvania.[7]

As of July 2020, National Fuel had applied for approval with the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency and a decision is pending.[3]

FM 100 Expansion Project Location

The pipeline will run through McKean, Potter, Elk, Clearfield and Cameron counties in Pennsylvania.[7]

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FM 100 Expansion Project Details

  • Operator: National Fuel[3]
  • Parent Company:
  • Capacity: 330 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d)[3]
  • Length: 31.3 miles / 50.4 km[3]
  • Diameter: 20-inches[3]
  • Status: Proposed[3]
  • Start Year: 2022[8]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Northern Access Gas Pipeline, National Fuel, accessed January 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thomas J. Prohaska, National Fuel asks feds to again squelch DEC rejection of Northern Access pipeline The Buffalo News, August 28, 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Natural Gas Data, Pipeline Projects Energy Information Agency, accessed July 21, 2020
  4. "No. 9 in '17: Northern Access project at a standstill" The Lockport Journal accessed January 2018
  5. "FERC denies rehearing on Northern Access pipeline, overruling New York decision" Utility Dive, accessed May 2019
  6. Sebastien Malo, N.Y. high court rules National Fuel can condemn land for Northern Access pipeline Reuters, June 25, 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 FM 100 Modernization Project National Fuel, November 13, 2017
  8. National Fuel Gas Co (NFG) Q3 2020 Earnings Call Transcript, Motley Fool, Aug. 7, 2020

Related articles

External resources

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