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Atlantic Sunrise pipeline builders get OK to start digging

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Crews conduct site preparation work for a natural compressor station in Columbia County.
Crews conduct site preparation work for a natural compressor station in Columbia County. - (Photo / )

The federal government has given the builders of the planned Atlantic Sunrise pipeline the go-ahead to start digging.

Williams Partners LP received the approval, formally called a Notice to Proceed, last week from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It essentially serves as an acknowledgement that the natural gas pipeline project has received all necessary permits and is the last permission Williams Partners needed before it could start breaking ground, said Williams spokesman Chris Stockton.

Construction could start as early as Sept. 25. Crews are already mobilizing in Columbia and Wyoming counties to build compressor stations, facilities that will help move the gas through the pipeline.

Oklahoma-based Williams Partners announced plans for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in 2014. The 186-mile structure would run through Lancaster, Lebanon and several other counties and serve as an extension of the existing Transco pipeline, which carries gas between the Gulf Coast and the Eastern Seaboard.

The project has drawn protests from environmentalists and landowners along the pipeline's planned path, including an order of Catholic nuns who drew national attention for their construction of a simple outdoor chapel along the pipeline route in West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County.

Henkels & McCoy Inc., Latex Construction Co. Inc., Michels Corp. and Welded Construction are the primary contractors for the nearly $3 billion project. Crews will work simultaneously on several sections of the pipeline when construction begins, with Williams Partners hoping to have the project finished in the next 10 months.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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