Regulatory Process

Before a pipeline company can begin a construction project like the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, it must go through a long federal regulatory review process. This includes filing an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to fully document the need for the project, as well as its scope and potential environmental impacts.

FERC Phases

Williams-FERC_Pacific Connector

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is the agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity.

FERC Pre-Filing
Before a pipeline company obtains authorization to construct or expand an existing interstate transmission pipeline, the company must first file a detailed project plan with the FERC. This plan is formally called an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate Application). The Certificate Application is a comprehensive document that describes the proposed project, its need and potential environmental impacts.

When a pipeline company is ready to begin preparing its Certificate Application, it typically initiates what is known as the FERC pre-filing process. The pre-filing process is designed to encourage involvement by citizens, government entities and other interested parties during the design stage of a proposed project.

As part of this process, the project sponsor hosts a series of public workshops in the areas potentially affected by the proposal. Representatives from FERC normally participate in these meetings as well. FERC may also hold its own public scoping meetings in the project area.

FERC Filing
The Certificate Application for the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline (Docket Number: CP13-492-000) has been filed. Among other things, the Certificate Application contains a description of the new facilities, need for the project, detailed maps, schedules, and various environmental reports. This information details the various studies and analyses that have been conducted to determine what effect construction and operation could potentially have on the environment and community.

A copy of the application is available for viewing at local public libraries, as well as via FERC’s website by referencing Docket Number CP13-492-000.

Environmental Evaluation
FERC will prepare an environmental evaluation using information included in the Certificate Application, supplemental information that may be provided by the company upon request, information assembled by FERC staff, as well as information provided by state and federal agencies and the public. The evaluation will describe the proposed project and alternatives, as well as identify existing environmental conditions and potential impacts from the project.

If FERC determines that the project is environmentally acceptable – and is satisfied the project is in the public interest – it will issue an Order granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. FERC issues this document to signify that approval has been granted to build and operate the pipeline.

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