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Orion Pipeline (Dormant)

Editor’s note: This issue is currently dormant. We will continue monitoring the situation and may take up the issue in the future.

April 24, 2018 Update: DRN has sued FERC challenging the issuance of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.


Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C (TGP), a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Inc, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its proposed Orion Project on October 9, 2015. The proposed $143 million project consists of the installation of 13 miles of additional pipe adjacent to and connecting with the existing TGP pipeline in Pike and Wayne counties, Pennsylvania. TGP also proposes to make minor adjustments to an existing compressor in Pike County, Pennsylvania. 

According to Kinder Morgan, the proposed Orion Project will allow TGP to transport up to 135,000 dekatherms per day of additional firm natural gas capacity on its pipeline system. The Orion Project’s full capacity is subject to agreements with three shippers. 

Kinder Morgan owns an interest in or operates approximately 84,000 miles of pipelines and 165 terminals.

TGP asserts that the Orion Project is anticipated to begin in January 2017, with a June 2018 in-service planned. 

Orion’s FERC Docket No. is CP 16-4-000 

See below for a fact sheet describing the resources impacted by the Orion Pipeline.

Litigation and Advocacy Updates:

In September 2016, DRN submitted an extensive comment regarding the inadequacy and problems with the FERC Draft EA as part of the public process. You can view DRN’s comments and technical reports that were submitted by clicking on the components below. 

In February 2017, FERC granted the Orion project a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity. In response, DRN submitted a rehearing request, on the grounds that FERC failed to conduct a thorough environmental review of the project and ignored the fact that the Orion project was a piece of a larger project by TGP.  On February 27, 2018, one year after the request was submitted, FERC denied DRN’s Rehearing Request, maintaining that it was unnecessary to consider the impacts of all of TGP’s pending pipelines, as the projects are independent of one another.

On March 24, 2017, DRN commenced two lawsuits attempting to stop construction of the pipeline.  DRN sued the PADEP for issuing a 105 Water Encroachment Permit and the United States Army Corps for issuing a Section 404 Dredge and Fill Discharge permit.  Additionally, DRN submitted emergency motions for stay of construction activity. The Third Circuit denied DRN’s motions to halt construction on the project, and in August 2017, the Third Circuit court ruled against DRN in both lawsuits, allowing the project to continue.

On May 15, 2018, in response to FERC’s rehearing request denial, DRN submitted a petition for review to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit challenging FERC’s certification.  In the challenge, DRN accuses of FERC of failing to adequately review the project by allowing unlawful segmentation, failing to properly account for GHG emissions, and failing to adequately consider project alternatives.