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COLUMBIA GAS TRANSMISSION AUTHORIZED BY BANKRUPTCY COURT TO PAY A MAJORITY OF ITS PRE-PETITION PROPERTY TAXES

 COLUMBIA GAS TRANSMISSION AUTHORIZED BY BANKRUPTCY COURT
 TO PAY A MAJORITY OF ITS PRE-PETITION PROPERTY TAXES
 CHARLESTON, W.Va., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. will immediately begin processing and mailing checks to tax districts in its operating territory following authorization by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court today to pay certain of its property taxes that are now due.
 The issue of paying the remaining pre-petition property taxes will be heard in a bankruptcy court hearing on April 13.
 Today's order allows Columbia Transmission to pay about $31 million of the $42 million it sought the court's permission to pay.
 The company will be mailing checks in the next few days for taxes currently due in Kentucky ($370,000), Maryland ($1.2 million), New Jersey ($300,000) and Ohio ($11 million). Further, the company can pay $5.6 million of $5.8 million due in West Virginia and $1.6 million of $3.7 million due in New York. Additional taxes in the various states will be paid when due.
 Payments of taxes not immediately approved for West Virginia and New York, along with taxes currently due in North Carolina ($47,000), Pennsylvania ($75,000), Texas ($43,000) and Virginia ($790,000), will be determined at the April hearing.
 "We are pleased to be able to pay a majority of the pre-petition property taxes now due," said James P. Holland, Columbia Transmission chairman and chief executive officer. "We are well aware of how dependent many school districts and local governments are on the millions of dollars in property taxes Columbia Transmission pays each year."
 While only a portion of Columbia Transmission's pre-petition tax liabilities was authorized to be paid today, the issue of paying the remainder of the pre-petition taxes was not denied and is scheduled to be heard next month. In the meantime, Columbia Transmission will be working to resolve objections raised by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
 Holland expressed thanks to the various state and local officials who supported Columbia Transmission's efforts to pay its taxes. He said he hopes this support will continue through the April hearing.
 Columbia Transmission operates a 19,000-mile interstate natural gas pipeline system in 10 states. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 31, 1991, due to financial problems caused by high-priced gas purchase contracts. The U.S. bankruptcy code allows a company to continue to operate under Chapter 11, but prohibits payment of expenses, including taxes, incurred prior to the filing date unless approved by the bankruptcy court. Post-petition taxes, assessed after Aug. 1, 1991, are not affected by the bankruptcy filing and will be paid as they come due.
 Columbia Transmission has twice requested permission to pay the taxes before emerging from bankruptcy to alleviate financial hardships for local governments and school districts which are funded primarily by property taxes.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/18/92
 /CONTACT: E. Kelly Merritt of the Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., 304-357-2283, or 304-357-2000/ CO: Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. ST: West Virginia IN: SU:


MP -- PH028 -- 9320 03/18/92 14:42 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 18, 1992
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