Columbia Gas, in consultation with Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant, is continuing its re-evaluation of potential on-campus routes for a gas pipeline to supply the University's West Campus Steam Plant with fuel to aid in the conversion from burning coal to natural gas. The distribution gas line, to be installed by Columbia Gas, has been under scrutiny from local residents, who have expressed concern about a potential route through their neighborhood.
Campus routes were initially deemed unfeasible due to interferences with existing utilities. However, Penn State officials are committed to responding to residential concerns by re-assessing all options. "We have asked Columbia to re-evaluate routes that keep this line on campus if it is practical," said Ford Stryker, associate vice president for the Office of Physical Plant. “This is a very complex undertaking, but we anticipate that the evaluation will be completed by the middle of July."
In separate action, Columbia Gas filed but has postponed legal action against the borough for failing to approve Columbia’s road use permit application for the proposed natural gas distribution line. On April 1, the State College Borough Council adopted a resolution to oppose permitting Columbia Gas to install a line through residential neighborhoods. Columbia subsequently submitted a request to withdraw their application without prejudice while they re-evaluate the feasibility of alternative routes across the University Park campus, and the borough took no action. Columbia and the borough have agreed to suspend legal action pending the outcome of alternative route investigations.
The proposed pipeline will increase the natural gas supply to Penn State’s West Campus Steam Plant and is essential to the University’s plan to convert the plant from burning coal to burning natural gas. The conversion is part of an overall University energy plan that includes measures to increase energy efficiency and decrease consumption. Penn State has succeeded in reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases by nearly 18 percent since 2006 and has a plan for an equivalent overall reduction over the next five years. For details on the plan, go to www.ghg.psu.edu.