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A federal agency has approved National Fuel Gas Company’s plan to construct a pipeline from northwestern Pennsylvania through Western New York.

The project still needs New York state approval, and three public hearings are scheduled for next week,
The Northern Access Project consists of approximately 97 miles of new pipeline from McKean County, Pa., and through the New York counties of Cattaraugus, Erie, and Niagara.

The project also includes the addition of compression facilities at an existing compressor station in Erie County and construction of a new compressor station and a new dehydration facility, both in Niagara County.

The pipeline is intended to transport domestically-produced natural gas and provide a energy for residential and commercial customers throughout the North American pipeline system.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the $450 million project after a more than 31-month review, the company said,

“As the northeast becomes increasingly more reliant on this nearby supply source, and in order to meet the growing demand from residential and commercial customers as well as from electric utilities that are replacing their coal-fired electric plants with natural gas-fired generation, the infrastructure required to provide these supplies must be built.” said Ronald Kraemer, president at Empire, a subsidiary of National Fuel.

Public hearings on the project are scheduled for:

St. Bonaventure University, Doyle Hall, 3261 W. State Road 6 p.m. Tuesday,

Iroquois High School, 2111 Girdle Road, Elma, 6 p.m. Wednesday,

Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, 6 p.m. Thursday.

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