The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that a proposed $1.6 billion natural gas pipeline that runs beneath the Milwaukee River in Westmoreland County would be shut down in 2019.
The decision is part of a long-standing effort by Gov.
Scott Walker’s administration to end the state’s reliance on coal for power and its reliance on the natural gas industry for transportation.
The EPA said in a statement that it had approved the project’s final design and that it would start construction on a $1 billion, two-phase project to supply the region’s demand for gas, which the agency says could help meet the state and federal mandates to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50 percent by 2030.
The company that owns the project, Midwest Gas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Walker signed the state gas pipeline plan in 2015, and in February he signed an executive order requiring the EPA to issue a report on the potential benefits of the project.
The EPA’s report was expected to be completed in early 2019.
In addition to the pipeline, the agency said it was considering issuing a final permit for a second natural gas line to be built beneath the river, but the move came after weeks of pressure from environmentalists who have argued that the proposed pipeline is too costly and is not necessary for the region.