EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Acting Secretary Neil Weaver announced Tuesday, a new Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) project had been approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

According to a press release, in a CFA meeting on Tuesday, November 15, Pocono Mountains Industries Inc. on behalf of UGI Utilities was approved for a nearly $340,000 grant to increase the natural gas capacity.

To increase the capacity, they will need to construct a new gas regulation station for the Smithfield Gateway center in Monroe County.

The cost of the project in total is almost $700,000 and UGI Utilities will match the funds to about $350,000.

“The PIPE program is crucial for building out pipelines to bring Pennsylvania`s abundant natural gas resources to households and businesses. Investments made through this program enable us to take greater advantage of the natural gas right under our feet while creating jobs and sometimes even lowering energy bills,” said Weaver.

Started in 2016 by Governor Tom Wolf, PIPE gives grants to build the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines to existing manufacturing and industrial enterprises and business parks, the press release reads.

As a result, this would create new economic base jobs in Pennsylvania while giving access to natural gas for commonwealth residents.

Those eligible for PIPE funding, such as businesses, economic development organizations, hospitals, municipalities, and school districts, can apply on the DCED website.