PPL and the owners of a new natural gas pipeline being constructed in southern Lancaster County have resolved a dispute over how close pipes could be placed to existing power lines.
PPL had protested to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the route of a 0.7-mile stretch of pipe in Fulton Township near Rigby Road, east of Peach Bottom.
Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. had changed its original plans and was proposing to place the line "dangerously close" to the existing high-voltage power line, PPL told the commission.
The pipeline is part of the Rock Springs Expansion Project, which involves running a new 11-mile pipeline from the existing Transco pipeline near Holtwood to the new Wildcat Point gas-fired power plant in Cecil County, Maryland.
Ten of the 11 miles are in Lancaster County in Fulton and Drumore townships.
Transco is owned by Williams Companies, which is proposing to build the controversial Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline, including 36.5 miles through Lancaster County.
PPL told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that moving the pipeline 40 feet closer to the power lines, into the power line right-of-way, could disrupt both the pipeline and power line.
The utility said it was possible the power line's electromagnetic field could "cut" into the pipeline, interfering with the pipeline's cathodic protection system and making it corrode faster.
PPL said electrical arcs between the power line and the buried pipeline could cause power outages.
And PPL warned that any workers touching the exposed pipeline could be electrocuted. The utility also worried the pipeline's cathodic protection could accelerate degradation of metal transmission towers.
Transco replied that it had studied all the issues PPL raised and found none valid.
It said that for 30 years it has operated about 5 miles of the Transco pipeline in southeastern Pennsylvania close to or crossing power lines with no safety issues. Another 64 miles of pipeline next to transmission lines in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York have never had a rupture from electrical transmission lines interferring with corrosion protection, the company said.
Moreover, Transco said, "the authorities cited by PPL in the Protest generally support collocation of utilities in rights-of- way, and none of the authorities present any concern under the circumstances here."
Paul Wirth, a PPL spokesman, said this week the matter has been resolved by allowing the pipeline to run just inside the edge of PPL's right-of-way, but not as close as Transco originally wanted.
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