HUNT VALLEY, Md., Nov. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas Transmission ( Columbia) today announced that federal regulators have approved construction of the company's Line MB Extension natural gas system modernization project in Baltimore County and Harford County, Maryland. The Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, issued on November 21, 2013 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, instructs Columbia to move forward with the 21.3-mile pipeline and begin construction in 2014. "This project is a critical component of Columbia's modernization efforts and our Line MB serves as a backbone of Maryland's natural gas delivery system," said Jimmy D. Staton, Columbia's group CEO. "We appreciate all of the input from residents along the route during our more than 20 months of public outreach, and we believe that our extensive community engagement process is a major reason why FERC granted project approval." The Line MB Extension project is to be built adjacent to Columbia's existing Line MA between Owings Mills and Fallston, Maryland, and deviates away from the existing Line to avoid Gunpowder Falls State Park. The project is designed to improve interstate natural gas service reliability for local utilities that serve residents and businesses in Central Maryland and surrounding regions. It is also designed to reduce system vulnerability to pipeline outages and to better facilitate pipeline safety inspections without disrupting natural gas service. In May, Columbia announced that the project would be built in large part using Maryland union labor, comprising of workers from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37, Laborers' International Union of North America Local 710, Teamsters Local 355 and Welders. Construction is expected to begin in 2014, and it is scheduled to be completed in 2015. Columbia has been working with residents of Baltimore County and Harford County – as well as federal, state and local agencies – for more 20 months to outline the pipeline project and share information about such issues as safety procedures and construction techniques. For more information on this project, visit www.columbiapipelinegroup.com. About Columbia Pipeline Group: As units of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), the CPG companies include Columbia Gas Transmission, Columbia Gulf Transmission, Crossroads Pipeline, Central Kentucky Transmission and Hardy Storage. Combined with CPG's operation of Millennium Pipeline Company, the CPG companies operate about 15,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline and 37 storage fields, delivering over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. For more information about Columbia Pipeline Group, please visit www.columbiapipelinegroup.com. Connect with CPG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/columbiapipelinegroup. SOURCE Columbia Gas Transmission; NiSource Inc.