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Fight over Northern Access pipeline through Pendleton lands in U.S. court

PENDLETON - The Town of Pendleton's refusal to grant a building permit for a natural gas pipeline compressor station has triggered a federal lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny will have to decide whether an approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for National Fuel's Northern Access project compels the town to issue the permit.

The town Planning Board approved a site plan for the compressors, to be built on Killian Road, but the town's building inspectors refused the permit. Both sides need to submit further paperwork to the court in early April, National Fuel spokeswoman Karen L. Merkel said.

Empire filed suit, contending the FERC approval entitles it to the building permit.

The town replied that the building permit would be premature because the pipeline project has yet to receive necessary approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and that the company's project violates Pendleton's zoning ordinance.

Empire Pipeline, a National Fuel subsidiary, is planning to spend an estimated $455 million on new and expanded pipelines to carry gas from the hydrofracking fields of McKean County, Pa., through four Western New York counties to be exported into Canada.


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