The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Texas LNG Project that Texas LNG Brownsville, LLC (Texas LNG) proposed.
Texas LNG requested authorization to “site, construct, and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal (LNG terminal) to liquefy and export natural gas at a proposed site on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas.”
The pipeline project will consist of the following facilities:
- “gas gate station and interconnect facility;
- “pretreatment facility to remove water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, mercury, and heavier (pentane and above) hydrocarbons;
- “a liquefaction facility consisting of two liquefaction trains and ancillary support facilities;
- “two approximately 210,000 cubic meter (m3) aboveground full containment LNG storage tanks with cryogenic pipeline connections to the liquefaction facility and berthing dock;
- “an LNG carrier berthing dock capable of receiving LNG carriers between approximately 130,000 m3 and 180,000 m3 in capacity;
- “a permanent material offloading facility to allow waterborne deliveries of equipment and materials during construction and mooring of tug boats while an LNG carrier is at the berth;
- “thermal oxidizer, warm wet flare, cold dry flare, spare flare, acid gas flare, and marine flare; and
- “administration, control, maintenance, and warehouse buildings and related parking lots; electrical transmission line and substation, water pipeline, septic system, and stormwater facilities/outfalls.”
The natural gas delivered to the project site will come from a “non-jurisdictional intrastate, 30-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline that would be constructed, owned, and operated by a third party, separate from Texas LNG.”
The FERC staff prepared the EIS “in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500–1508 (40 CFR 1500-1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).”
FERC asserted that the recommendations and conclusions in the EIS are those of the FERC staff alone, though they did consider the input in their determinations from: “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Park Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).” While those agencies did act as cooperating agencies during FERC’s determinations, those agencies may still make their own determinations on the EIS after an independent review.
FERC concluded that the Texas LNG Project’s construction and operation would have adverse effects on the environment, but the impacts could “be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Texas LNG’s proposed impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by FERC staff, with the exception of visual resources.”
“The Texas LNG Project, combined with other projects in the geographic scope, including the Rio Grande LNG and Annova LNG Projects, would result in significant cumulative impacts from sediment/turbidity and shoreline erosions within the Brownsville Ship Channel during operations from vessel transits; on the federally listed ocelot and jaguarundi from habitat loss and potential for increased vehicular strikes during construction; on the federally listed aplomado falcon from habitat loss; and on visual resources from the presence of above ground structures.”
The conclusions FERC reached were based on “information provided by Texas LNG 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 Native American tribes.” The factors considered in their conclusions were:
- “The LNG terminal would be constructed in an area currently zoned for commercial and industrial use, along an existing, man-made ship channel.
- “Texas LNG would follow its Spill Prevention and Response Plan (construction), Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan (operation), Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Plan, Facility Lighting Plan, Migratory Bird Plan, Terrestrial Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Plan, Unanticipated Discovery Plan for cultural resources, and Fugitive Dust Control Plan.
- “The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Letter of Recommendation indicating that the Brownsville Ship Channel would be considered suitable for the LNG marine traffic associated with the Project.
- “The U.S. Department of Transportation has no objection to Texas LNG’s methodology to comply with the 49 CFR 193 siting requirements for the LNG terminal.
- “All appropriate consultations with the FWS and NMFS regarding federally listed threatened and endangered species would be completed before construction is allowed to start.
- “All appropriate National Historic Preservation Act consultations with the Texas State Historic Preservation Office and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation would be completed before construction is allowed to start in any given area.
- “Texas LNG would implement its Project-specific Environmental Construction Plan, which incorporates our Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures, to minimize impacts on soils, wetlands, and waterbodies.
- “The 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.”
FERC also “developed site-specific mitigation measures that Texas LNG should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction of the Project.”
The EIS can be read in full here:
Volume I of the Environmental Analysis