News Release
July 19, 2001

MARITIMES PHASE III AND ALGONQUIN HUBLINE RECEIVE POSITIVE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT

BOSTON – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, L.L.C. (Maritimes) and Algonquin Gas Transmission Company (Algonquin) for Maritimes’ Phase III and Algonquin’s HubLine natural gas pipeline projects.

The projects include construction of approximately 25 miles (Maritimes) of 30-inch, onshore pipe from Methuen to Beverly, Mass., 30 miles of 24-inch, offshore pipe (Algonquin) from Beverly to Weymouth, Mass., and approximately 5 miles of 16-inch, offshore lateral pipe to Deer Island, Mass.

In the DEIS, FERC staff concludes that, with the mitigation proposed by Maritimes and Algonquin as well as the measures recommended by FERC, "construction and operation of the proposed facilities would have limited adverse environmental impact." The report cites several reasons for the staff decision including that:

FERC, in its thorough review of system alternatives, determined that the facilities, as proposed, were the only viable means of meeting the project’s purpose and need.

"The proposed routes were developed following careful review of current land uses, sensitive environmental areas, undersea terrain and other significant resources," said Tom O’Connor, president of M&N Management Co., the managing member of Maritimes and senior vice president of marketing for Duke Energy Gas Transmission. "In addition, we met with and continue to listen to landowners, public officials, environmental organizations, citizen groups, and others who may be affected by the project. We appreciate FERC’s acknowledgement of our efforts over the past two years to minimize the impact to communities and the environment, and their diligent efforts in processing this report. The issuance of this Draft Environmental Impact Statement is a major step forward for these projects and, coupled with strong market support, will move us closer to our in-service date."

Under the National Environmental Policy Act and FERC’s implementing regulations, FERC staff is required to issue a DEIS which studies the potential environmental effects of the proposed projects. As is the practice for a large project such as this, FERC will hold one or more public meetings to receive comments on the DEIS prior to issuing a final environmental impact statement.

In May, FERC issued favorable preliminary determinations on non-environmental issues for both projects. The preliminary determinations concluded that the public convenience and necessity requires the construction and operation of these new natural gas pipeline facilities in eastern Massachusetts.

Maritimes and Algonquin proposed the new pipeline facilities in response to the increasing demand for natural gas in the region. The projects will deliver new energy supplies to local distribution companies and industrial customers, especially the new, efficient electric generating stations fueled by natural gas and the older plants that are switching to the cleaner-burning energy source.

Maritimes transports natural gas from the Sable project located off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, to energy markets in Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States. Algonquin operates more than 1,000 miles of interstate pipeline system serving customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"Interconnecting the Maritimes and Algonquin systems just makes sense," O’Connor said. "The new pipeline infrastructure will provide the region with greater fuel diversity along with a more economical and reliable energy system. We’ll have access to new resources being developed offshore Nova Scotia as well as to supplies from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Western Canada."

Maritimes is owned by affiliates of Duke Energy (37.5 percent); Westcoast Energy, Inc. (37.5 percent); ExxonMobil (12.5 percent); and Emera Inc. (12.5 percent). Algonquin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy. For more information, contact Maritimes on the Internet at www.mnp-usa.com and Duke Energy at www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Marylee Hanley
Phone: 617/560-1573
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
Email: mhanley@duke-energy.com
Contact: John sheridan
Phone: 617/560-1444
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
Email: jpsheridan@duke-energy.com