National Fuel and local construction trades unions have made a project labor agreement governing work on the Northern Access pipeline project which "will result in good-paying jobs for union construction trades workers across Western New York," according to Paul Brown, president of the Buffalo, Niagara County and Southwestern Building and Construction Trades Council.
"National Fuel looks forward to working with the construction trades on the company's largest private-sector investment in our nearly 115-year history in Western New York," said Ronald C. Kraemer, senior vice president of National Fuel.
Earl Wells, spokesman for the unions, said the agreement includes a pledge from the unions not to disrupt the project with work stoppages.
The $455 million plan expands existing pipelines in four Western New York counties to export natural gas from the hydrofracking fields of McKean County, Pa., to Canada. Nearly 100 miles of new pipeline are to be laid in Niagara, Erie, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.
The connection to the Trans-Canada Pipeline will be made through an existing pipeline beneath the west branch of the Niagara River between Grand Island and Chippawa, Ont.
A new compressor station is to be built in Pendleton, an existing compressor is to be expanded in Elma, and a gas dehydration station is slated for construction in Wheatfield.
National Fuel estimates that it will pay about $11.5 million a year in property taxes to the counties and school districts along the pipeline route, while the purchase of construction materials will generate an estimated $7 million in sales taxes.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ruled there will be no significant environmental impact from the project, but it has yet to issue a final approval of the plan. National Fuel spokeswoman Karen L. Merkel said the company also needs a water permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, allowing the pipeline to cross streams en route.
If the FERC and DEC approvals are received during the winter, construction would begin in the spring, with a completion target date in November 2017, Merkel said.