FERC Issues a Draft EIS

FERC Issues a Draft EIS

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a “draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Jordan Cove LNG Project and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Project (collectively referred to as the Project) proposed by Jordan Cove Energy Project, LP (Jordan Cove) and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, L.P. (Pacific Connector).” Both Pacific Connector and Jordan Cover sought “Authorization and a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and an interstate natural gas transmission pipeline.”

If approved, the 200-acre terminal will be located in Coos County, Oregon and it would be able to liquefy “up to 1.04 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for export… the LNG terminal would be called upon by about 120 LNG carriers per year.” The terminal site would include:

  • “a pipeline gas conditioning facility;
  • “five natural gas liquefaction trains;
  • “two full-containment LNG storage tanks and associated equipment;
  • “LNG loading platform and transfer line;
  • “marine facilities;
  • “an access channel from the existing Coos Bay Federal Navigation Channel to the LNG terminal;
  • “modifications adjacent to the existing Federal Navigation Channel;
  • “a temporary workforce housing facility;
  • “the non-jurisdictional Southwest Oregon Regional Security Center and Fire Department building;
  • “and other security and control facilities, administrative buildings, and other support structures.”

The pipeline project would be connected to the “existing pipeline systems in Klamath County, Oregon, and would span parts of Klamath, Jackson, Douglas, and Coos Counties, Oregon.” The pipeline would be “approximately 229-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter” and it will have the capability to transport “up to 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Operating the pipeline would require the use of one compressor station and other associated pipeline facilities.”

The draft EIS was “prepared 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 while they received input from “The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM); U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Forest Service); Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service; U.S. Department of Homeland Security Coast Guard (Coast Guard); the Coquille Indian Tribe; and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation,” they were working as cooperating agencies, and that FERC was the lead federal agency that prepared this draft EIS.

FERC explained that a “cooperating agency has jurisdiction by law or has special expertise with respect to the environment potentially affected by the Project. The cooperating agencies provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the draft EIS. Following issuance of the final EIS, the cooperating agencies will issue subsequent decisions, determinations, permits or authorizations for the Project in accordance with each individual agency’s regulatory requirements.”

They concluded that both the construction and the operation of the pipeline project would have temporary, long-term, and permanent impacts on the environment, but many of them will be insignificant “or would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of proposed and/or recommended impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures.” There are still some that will be significant and adverse to the environment.

FERC also reached the conclusions that constructing the pipeline project would have a significate, but temporary impact on housing in Coos Bay. Both the construction and operation of the pipeline project would have a permanent impact on “the visual character of Coos Bay.” The construction and operation are also likely to have an adverse effect on “13 federally-listed threatened and endangered species including the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, and coho salmon.”

Their conclusions were “based wholly or in part on:”

  • “the Project would be constructed in compliance with all applicable federal laws, regulations, permits, and authorizations;
  • “the applicants would implement all best management practices, the measures described in their Erosion Control and Revegetation Plan, Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures and Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plans, and other impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures;
  • “the applicants’ Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Plan would satisfy the COE’s regulatory requirements to mitigate unavoidable impacts on wetlands and waters of the U.S.;
  • “the BLM and Forest Service’s plan amendments would provide for the crossing of federal lands;
  • “compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act would be complete prior to construction;
  • “the LNG terminal was designed consistent with maximum tsunami run-up elevations and considered tsunami wave heights and inundation elevations;
  • “the LNG terminal would include protections and safeguards that ensure facility integrity and public safety;
  • “the Coast Guard issued a Letter of Recommendation indicating the Coos Bay Federal Navigation Channel would be considered suitable for the LNG marine traffic associated with the Project; and
  • “FERC’s environmental and LNG engineering construction inspection programs would ensure compliance with all applicants’ commitments, and the conditions of any FERC Authorization and Certificate.”

FERC also “recommend[ed] that the Project-specific impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures that we have developed (included in the draft EIS as recommendations) be attached as conditions to any Authorization and Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Commission for the Project.”

The draft EIS and its Appendices can be read at: