Natchez objects to pipeline abandonment

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NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The city of Natchez is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny American Midstream Partners‘ petition to abandon the Midla natural gas pipeline in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The natural gas pipeline serves Natchez, Woodville and other areas in southwest Mississippi and nine parishes in eastern Louisiana, including the Clayton, Ferriday, Ridgecrest and Vidalia areas.

American Midstream has asked the commission to decide the issue by July 1.

The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1hLBYz8 ) City Attorney Hyde Carby told the city council this week many people are concerned about how fast American Midstream is trying to abandon the pipeline.

“While it could ultimately be the best thing (for the pipeline) to be abandoned, I think most people are concerned with the rate at which (American Midstream) are trying to get before FERC.

“We have impressed upon (FERC) that it would be tremendously bad for this to be yanked out from under us, particularly, at the speed they’re trying to do it,” Carby said.

American Midstream wants to abandon the pipeline over safety concerns because of the pipeline’s age. It was built in the 1920s and is now about 50 years beyond its predicted lifespan, the company said.

Denver-based American Midstream, a subsidiary of Boston-based hedge fund ArcLight Capital, filed an application with federal regulators in March.

Officials in Louisiana and Mississippi have questioned the decision.

American Midstream officials have said they were forced to file to abandon the pipeline after negotiations with their customers, including Atmos Energy, yielded no new contracts needed to replace parts of the line. Dallas-based Atmos has filed a complaint with regulators over American Midstream’s plans.

The company has said it has looked into alternatives to operating the pipeline as is, including partial reconstruction of the line or trucking compressed natural gas to its existing distribution system connections.

The company estimates those options will cost approximately $1.76 a month more for customer meters on the Atmos system.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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