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Hope Fuel pipeline challenge receives extra help; Hope objects to FOIA request for challenge info from The Dominion Put up

MORGANTOWN – Hope Fuel’ Morgantown pipeline challenge obtained one other letter of help this previous week. And anticipating Public Service Fee approval of the challenge, the corporate took some steps to expedite decision of the case.

But in addition on Friday, it filed its objection to a Freedom of Data Act request from The Dominion Put up concerning protected details about challenge maps and sure prices and revenues.

On Wednesday, native pure fuel producer Northeast Pure Power – with workplaces in Charleston and Morgantown – joined the refrain of help for the challenge.

NNE notes Hope’s assertion that the Morgantown Connector Challenge has the “potential to attach Hope’s system to extra West Virginia manufacturing. . . offering extra West Virginia fuel provide to Hope and offering these producers entry to Columbia [Gas Co.] and markets off of Columbia.”

Constructing on that, NNE stated the challenge “will promote the manufacturing and growth of West Virginia fuel, fostering job progress inside the state and growing severance taxes for the state.” And the challenge permits Hope to make use of the state’s “plentiful and responsibly sourced fuel to provide its prospects.”

The pipeline is deliberate to run a complete 30 miles from Wadestown in western Monongalia County eastward to the sting of Morgantown after which northwest to website close to Osage, at an estimated price of $177,437,169.

On Dec. 4, two PSC workers members testified to the PSC in help of the challenge, and on Dec. 5, Charleston-based Mountaineer Fuel supplied its help.

In response to the PSC workers help, Hope declined to supply any rebuttal testimony, because it’s not wanted to defend its proposal. Hope additionally filed a movement to cancel the scheduled Dec. 19 evidentiary listening to, on condition that there are not any factual points in dispute.

The movement awaits PSC approval.

FOIA request

Hope filed its utility to construct the pipeline on Sept. 22, with price and income info redacted and maps and drawings not included within the public model. Then in an Oct. 12 submitting, Hope sought a protecting order to maintain the knowledge confidential and gave this rationalization as to why.

First, sure extremely detailed maps and drawings “present exact areas of amenities that shouldn’t be disclosed for safety causes,” Hope stated. Second, challenge prices that ought to stay confidential as a result of sure challenge work stays topic to a bidding procurement course of. And third, dialogue of estimated income from sure companies Hope would possibly present is topic to industrial negotiation with prospects.

On Oct. 26, PSC workers objected to Hope’s request for the protecting order. It stated the mixture price estimate of the challenge is a not a commerce secret. And whereas Hope just isn’t instantly in search of to recoup the prices of the pipeline, workers stated, it plans to in later filings, and prospects need to know the fee and the way it would possibly have an effect on their future payments.

Workers additionally stated that revealing mixture prices gained’t hurt negotiations. Hope can nonetheless preserve confidentiality on particular line gadgets the place it’s in search of aggressive pricing.

On the matter of the maps, workers stated they don’t seem to be particular engineering plans and descriptions topic to safety beneath the Freedom of Data Act. “The general public has a considerable curiosity in viewing these maps with a view to gauge what influence this challenge could have on non-public property and the way it might have an effect on their property values and property usages,” workers stated. “The general public additionally has a proper to see how the trail of this challenge will influence any public lands if there may be such an influence in any respect.”

In a Nov. 13 order, the PSC denied Hope’s request for protecting therapy for complete estimated challenge prices. However it allowed Hope to maintain confidential different info, equivalent to projected income from expanded service allowed by the brand new pipeline, the price of Columbia Fuel constructing a brand new interconnection at Wadestown, and the maps and drawings.

Relating to the remaining protected materials, the order stated, “Movement for protecting order, together with Hope’s Utility Exhibit G itemizing itemized Challenge Prices and Income Estimates and Exhibit E Maps and Drawings, and associated testimony is deferred till the submitting and evaluate of a request pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Data Act. The Govt Secretary shall preserve the unredacted model of the sealed filings in its present situation, separate and aside from the remainder of the file pending additional order.”

In response to that order, on Nov. 27, The Dominion Put up filed a FOIA request with the PSC, quoting the order and requesting the remaining protected info. In a subsequent e-mail to the PSC – which has not but appeared on the case web page – we famous that The Dominion Put up serves the affected space and its readers have a direct curiosity within the challenge.

Then, in a Nov. 30 order, the PSC gave Hope Fuel, PSC workers, and the Client Advocate Division till Friday to answer the request.

Hope’s legal professional filed its objection on Friday. The response stated, “Hope appreciates the fee’s order and alternative to additional reply as to why the topic confidential info shouldn’t be disclosed; nevertheless, Hope’s argument, regulation, and causes for not disclosing the confidential info, together with the fabric detrimental influence on ratepayers such disclosure would end in, have been absolutely supplied in [prior filings]. To preserve the fee’s assets, Hope is not going to right here additional regurgitate what’s already in” these filings.

Responses from PSC workers and the CAD had not posted on the case web page by deadline.

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