Natchez objects to pipeline abandonment

Miss The city 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 pipeline stretches 370 miles from Monroe southeast into Mississippi and down to Baton Rouge. The line serves customers in East Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Catahoula, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas and Concordia parishes.

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

Natchez 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 officials) 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.

American Midstream, of Denver, a subsidiary of hedge fund Arc­Light Capital, of Boston, 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.

Atmos, of Dallas, 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.