PITTSBURGH, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today recognized NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) for its pipeline infrastructure modernization and replacement investment at a press conference in Pittsburgh. NiSource companies, including Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. and Columbia Gas Transmission, L.L.C., invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in energy infrastructure modernization programs. Over the course of the next decade, NiSource expects to invest even more in such programs, helping ensure continued reliable and efficient energy delivery, and providing a foundation for job creation and economic growth across its service territory. During today's news conference, Secretary LaHood said the Department of Transportation has committed to coordinating with other government entities to identify opportunities to remove overlaps and expedite the regulatory and approval processes without sacrificing safety or lowering industry standards. This comes in accordance with President Obama's Executive Order to Improve Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects. "A year ago, I asked pipeline operators to take a hard look at their infrastructure and identify those sections of pipeline that need to be repaired, rehabilitated or replaced to ensure safer and more reliable delivery of energy resources," said Secretary LaHood. "And we are happy to help NiSource speed up construction and replace some of the oldest pipelines in the nation, ensuring good jobs and increased safety for people in Pittsburgh, as well as throughout Pennsylvania and the other states that will benefit from this project." "At NiSource, we are pleased to play our part in this long-term, nation-wide commitment to enhancing America's core energy infrastructure," said Jimmy Staton, executive vice president and group CEO of NiSource's gas transmission and storage business. "We welcome the Department of Transportation's support in facilitating our investments through an efficient permitting and regulatory review process. We commend Secretary LaHood, Mayor Ravenstahl, President Obama and our many other federal, state and local stakeholders who play a role in helping modernize our nation's energy infrastructure. We look forward to working together to get the job done." NiSource's Commitment to Infrastructure ModernizationOver the past several years, NiSource companies have been committed to modernizing the nation's local utility infrastructure, including replacing more than 1,000 miles of bare steel and cast iron pipelines at its local utilities with more modern, corrosion-resistant materials. Similar to the modernization programs at its local utilities, NiSource's Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary is in the process of launching a program to upgrade its 12,000-mile interstate pipeline system, which serves markets in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. The program will focus on rebuilding NiSource's critical pipeline infrastructure, thereby improving the safety and reliability of its system. The program may also provide enhanced access to emerging domestic natural gas supplies, such as those in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. In addition to replacing more than 1,000 miles of interstate pipeline, the company plans to invest in modernizing its compressor fleet and other related assets and systems. In Pennsylvania alone, NiSource is projected to spend approximately $400 million a year for the next five years on its infrastructure modernization programs. This investment is anticipated to create more than 1,000 direct jobs. Overall, NiSource's approximately $4 billion, fifteen-year program will spur job creation and support economic opportunity in Pennsylvania and areas across its footprint, including Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. NiSource estimates that more than 7,000 direct jobs will be created as a result of the program. About NiSourceNiSource Inc., based in Merrillville, Ind., is a Fortune 500 company engaged in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution. NiSource operating companies deliver energy to 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. Information about NiSource and its subsidiaries is available via the Internet at www.nisource.com. NI-F Forward Looking StatementsThis news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of NiSource and its management. Although NiSource believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its goals will be achieved. Readers are cautioned that the forward-looking statements in this release are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and that actual results could differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the matters set forth in the "Risk Factors" Section and the Note regarding forward-looking statements in NiSource's 2012 Form 10-K, many of which are risks beyond the control of NiSource. NiSource expressly disclaims a duty to update any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release. SOURCE NiSource Inc.