On December 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Annova LNG Brownsville Project. The Annova Project has proposed a project to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas. The DEIS assesses the impacts that the LNG would have on the environment in the surrounding area.
“The Project consists of the following facilities:
- pipeline meter station;
- liquefaction facilities;
- two LNG storage tanks;
- marine and LNG transfer facilities;
- control room, administration/maintenance building;
- site access road; and
- utilities (power, water, and communication systems).”
The assessment came to the conclusion that the Annova Project would have adverse effects on the environment. “However, the impacts on the environment from the proposed Project would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Annova’s proposed impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by FERC staff.” FERC also came up with a few mitigation methods that they recommended should “be attached as conditions to any authorization issued” in regards to this project.
Some of the things that were factored into FERC’s decision were:
- “impacts on wetlands and aquatic habitat, including Essential Fish Habitat, would be mitigated per Annova’s draft Conceptual Mitigation Plan;
- Annova would implement its Project-specific Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures to minimize construction impacts on soils, wetlands, and waterbodies;
- we recommend that all appropriate consultations with the FWS and NOAA Fisheries under the Endangered Species Act should be completed before construction is allowed to begin;
- we recommend that Annova file all outstanding cultural resource reports and agency comments for our review before construction is allowed to begin;
- the Coast Guard issued a Letter of Recommendation indicating the BSC would be considered suitable for the LNG marine traffic associated with the Project;
- the LNG terminal design would include acceptable layers of protection or safeguards that would reduce the risk of a potentially hazardous scenario from developing into an event that could impact the offsite public; and
- FERC’s environmental and engineering inspection and mitigation monitoring program for this Project would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures and conditions of any FERC Authorization.”
“Annova LNG is pleased FERC has acknowledged our proactive approach towards minimizing and offsetting the project’s environmental impacts,” said Omar Khayum, Annova LNG CEO. “Annova LNG is investing in electric motor-driven equipment to minimize air emissions, restoring former wetlands in the project vicinity to more than offset wetlands impacts, and actively contributing to efforts to protect the ocelot and other wildlife, including establishing a wildlife corridor on the project site.”
The Annova project’s layout was modified to avoid over 100 acres of wetlands and to create a 185-acre environmental conservation corridor. It also plans to restore over 250 acres of wetlands and shallow water habitat.
The commenting period on the DEIS is open until February 4, after which time FERC will begin deliberating on a decision.