2011-09-15 / Local & State

Gas Pipeline Firm In Pa. Pulls Utility Application

By Marc Levy

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The company that's building a 30-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from northern Pennsylvania wells says it's no longer seeking public utility status, which would have been a step toward taking private property without an owner's approval.

The chairman of Laser Northeast Gathering said Monday the company's business model has changed.

Laser's application to state utility regulators was the first to coincide with Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale gas-drilling boom, although other applications are pending.

Public utilities have the ability to go to court to seek eminent domain on private property. But Laser says it's now planning to serve a limited number of customers.

Laser was forced to halt construction temporarily on its $55 million pipeline into New York state recently after crews spilled drilling mud into a pristine stream.

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