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UTILITY FILES SUIT AGAINST BOARD OVER NATURAL GAS CONTRACTS

National Fuel Gas Co. is taking the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities to court again over the awarding of contracts for natural gas supply and transmission.

The gas is to be used by the board's $20 million gas turbine once it is installed at the Carlson Generating Station on Steele Street.

National Fuel spokeswoman Julie A. Coppola said the suit was filed in State Supreme Court Aug. 26. It contests the board's awarding of contracts last July 22 to Texaco Natural Gas for supply and to Nornew Energy to provide the transmission.

A key issue, said Coppola, is that for Nornew to provide the distribution facility, it must use a section of the Norse Pipeline. Norse is an affiliate of Nornew, and she said delivering that gas would require federal approval.

"The transportation of gas on this pipeline would be the transportation of interstate gas, and through previous rulings, Norse and Nornew had been advised that if these lines were used for any other purposes than locally produced gas, then they would be subject to regulation, and that is regulation they've indicated they're not subject to," she said Wednesday.

To his knowledge, board attorney William Wright Jr. said Nornew is able to use its tie-in with the Tennessee Pipeline near Mayville, and he said the interstate transport issue has been already been dealt with.

Donna DeCarolis, National Fuel's assistant vice president, said NFG was "the lowest bidder on the pipeline project, yet we were denied the award."

Earlier this summer, State Supreme Court Judge Leo Fallon acted on the board's request and dismissed National Fuel's first suit. NFG had alleged the board acted improperly in awarding a contract to the partnership of Nornew/Statoil. The partnership dissolved, and the board voted the contract was moot.

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