On January 18, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued their final Environmental Impact Statement for the Driftwood LNG Project. The Driftwood Project requested authorization “construct and operate liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities and certain interstate, natural gas transmission pipeline facilities in Evangeline, Acadia, Jefferson Davis, and Calcasieu Parishes, Louisiana.”
There are two main parts to the Driftwood Project:
- “The construction and operation of the LNG Facility, which includes five LNG plant facilities to liquefy natural gas, three tanks to store the LNG, LNG carrier loading/berthing facilities (Marine Facility), and other appurtenant facilities at a site near Carlyss, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana”
- “The construction and operation of about 96 miles of pipeline, three new compressor stations, and 15 new meter stations.
They anticipate the Driftwood Project will produce approximately “27.6 million tonnes per annum of LNG for export.”
FERC determined the Driftwood Project will have significant adverse effects on the environment. “However, they would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Driftwood’s proposed impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by staff.” FERC reached these conclusions through “information provided by Driftwood and through data requests; field investigations; literature research; geospatial analysis; alternatives analysis; public comments and scoping sessions; and coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and Indian Tribes.”
“The following factors were also considered in our conclusions:
- The LNG Facility site would be in an area currently zoned for heavy industrial use, which is consistent with other industrial facilities along the Calcasieu Ship Channel.
- The Pipeline would parallel or be collocated with other disturbed right-of-way corridors (with pipelines or utilities) for about 68 miles (about 71 percent of the route).
- Driftwood would construct the Project using a number of Project-specific plans designed to minimize impacts. These include: Construction Environmental Control Plan; Driftwood Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures; construction Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan; Unanticipated Discoveries Plan; Horizontal Directional Drill Plans; Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan; and Fugitive Dust Management Plan. Driftwood would also develop and implement an operations SPCC Plan.
- The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Letter of Recommendation indicating the Calcasieu Ship Channel would be considered suitable for the LNG marine traffic associated with the Project.
- The LNG Facility 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.
- The Pipeline and associated aboveground facilities would be constructed, operated, and maintained in compliance with Department of Transportation standards published in 49 CFR 192.FERC staff would complete consultations with resource agencies to ensure compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act; and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
- Driftwood would follow an environmental inspection program, including Environmental Inspectors, to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorization. FERC staff would conduct inspections throughout construction, commissioning, and restoration of the Project.”
“FERC staff would complete consultations with resource agencies to ensure compliance with:
- Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act; and
- Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.”
FERC also came up with some recommendations for Driftwood to implement in order for them to reduce the impact even further. These recommendations include “that Driftwood should implement specific to engineering, vulnerability, and detailed design of the LNG Facility, and ongoing recommendations relating to inspections, reporting, notification, and non-scheduled events that would apply throughout the life of the LNG Facility.”