Late discovery of cultural resource artifacts poses no problem to construction schedule

Moxie Energy Towanda, Pa.

Project highlights

Client challenge
When the transmission connection for its new generation facility changed at the last minute, Moxie Energy was forced to choose an alternative. But a natural and cultural resource evaluation on the new two-mile right-of-way revealed the presence of cultural resource artifacts, triggering preservation requirements. Moxie was concerned that it might not be able to make the new site work within its tight project financing and construction schedule.

Our approach
Haley & Aldrich provided specialized expertise in project management of the characterization and preservation of the resources, satisfying the needs of all stakeholders and bringing the transaction to closure within the project’s schedule.

Value delivered 

  • A construction plan that preserved the viability of the new transmission alignment despite unexpected last-minute challenges.
  • Preservation of cultural resources, to the satisfaction of tribal authorities, agencies and landowners.
  • Providing clear direction on an uncertain road

A clean energy initiative takes shape
Moxie Energy is an independent energy producer that has developed power plants in central Pennsylvania to take advantage of the abundant natural gas resources of the Marcellus Shale Region. Natural gas has a significantly cleaner energy profile than other fossil fuels, and gas-fired combined-cycle power plants are needed to replace aging power generation in several areas of the country, including the northeast.

The company originally chose to locate this plant adjacent to the transmission grid, providing a nearby interconnect. But as project closing neared, the regional grid operator informed Moxie that a connection at that point would require system modifications, adding significant cost.

Moxie found an alternative route that would require running a two-mile power line to a more suitable interconnection point. However, the natural and cultural resource evaluation of the right-of-way for the power line encountered cultural resource findings, threatening the selected route alignment and scheduling of that alternative.

Finding a clear path to completion
Haley & Aldrich had significant experience with natural and cultural resource agency interaction, and balancing project objectives while protecting resources, and provided leadership on this phase of the project. It required knowing, in detail, what criteria approving agencies would need to review and document in order to demonstrate compliance with the Historic Preservation Act and related requirements within Pennsylvania.

Working on a tight timeframe, the path proceeded along two fronts: curating sensitive artifacts in coordination with involved agencies and Native American entities with ancestral interest in the area; and developing a method of construction that would not disturb sensitive areas, while preserving the project’s schedule, financial closing, and planned construction.

Our team worked closely with all project stakeholders – which included our client, state and federal agencies, tribal entities, and landowners – in a timely fashion to resolve these issues and formulate plans for construction.

A project schedule met
Working with our client, we were able to help state and federal agencies quickly grasp a clear understanding of the resources at issue, and how the project had devised means of protecting those resources through its completion. Importantly, regulatory approval was successfully achieved within a three-month timeframe that typically would have taken several more months to complete.

For more information about this project, contact:

Vince Dick
Steve Phillips