An approximately 100-mile gas pipeline project that will run through McKean County has been pushed back until 2018, officials reported this week.

Officials at National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. and Empire Pipeline Inc. are altering the anticipated in-service date from November 2017 to the first quarter of 2018 for the Northern Access pipeline expansion project, which spans from Sergeant Township, McKean County, and ends at Supply's existing Porterville Compressor Station in the Town of Elma, Erie County, N.Y. The project will include the construction of 96.49 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline.

“We continue to make progress working through the various federal, state, and local regulatory processes,” said Ronald J. Tanski, president and chief executive officer of National Fuel Gas Corp. “Progress is slower than we had originally anticipated, as a number of energy projects in the Northeast U.S. have faced similar permitting delays.”

The project has hit snags in the regulatory approval process, including the issuance of the project’s certificate by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And officials say those issues have restricted certain development activities along parts of the pipeline route ahead of designated environmental protection periods that begin April 1 and run through July.

In the meantime, National Fuel on Jan. 23 agreed with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to extend the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s deadline for a decision relating to various permits for the project, including the water quality certification from March 1 to April 7.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has provided National Fuel with Notices of Complete Application for the various project permits and published those on Jan. 25.

“We are encouraged that the NYSDEC has reviewed the voluminous material that we have submitted at their request and determined our permit applications to be complete,” Tanski said. “We stand ready to invest close to half a billion dollars in this infrastructure project that will increase the tax base of our local communities and school districts and bolster our pipeline system’s access to plentiful supplies of domestic natural gas.”

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. sells or transports natural gas to more than 740,000 customers through a local distribution system located in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. The National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. provides interstate natural gas transmission and storage through an integrated gas pipeline system that extends over 2,300 miles from southwestern Pennsylvania to the New York-Canadian border at the Niagara River.

Empire Pipeline Inc. provides interstate natural gas transmission services through a high-pressure gas pipeline system that extends throughout Western and Central New York, over 245 miles from the New York-Canadian border at the Niagara River to interconnections with the Millennium Pipeline near Corning, N.Y., and Marcellus Shale producers in northcentral Pennsylvania, and east to the Syracuse, N.Y., area.

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