Natural-gas customers from near Baton Rouge to Monroe won’t lose service because of the proposed shutdown of an aging pipeline, congressional offices said Wednesday in announcing a deal over the future of the Midla pipeline.
The agreement between government and industry negotiators calls for the pipeline’s owners to build a new, larger line from Winnsboro, in Franklin Parish, to Natchez, Mississippi. The larger line could boost industrial development in the area, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
The new line will provide gas to Jonesville, Sicily Island, Clayton, and Vidalia, the office of U.S. Rep. Bill Casssidy, R-La., said. The pipeline company will pay for the costs of switching to some other form of gas service or to propane for most of those existing Midla customers who will not be not served by the new line, Cassidy’s office said.
The Midla pipeline was built 90 years ago from the Monroe gas fields across southwest Mississippi to Baton Rouge. In Louisiana, it provides gas to thousands of customers in Franklin, Catahoula, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Concordia, West Feliciana, East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes.
The company that recently bought the pipeline says the line is leaky and dangerous. It asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to abandon it.
But Landrieu, Cassidy, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, both R-La., called on FERC to either reject the abandonment application or to closely investigate the company’s claims about the line’s condition and operating costs.