FERC has released its final environmental impact statement for the Rover Pipeline Project.
The EIS has been prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1500–1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).
The conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff. Input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection as cooperating agencies was considered during the development of all conclusions and recommendations; however, these agencies could develop their own conclusions and recommendations and would adopt the final EIS per 40 CFR 1506.3 (where applicable) if, after an independent review of the document, they conclude that their permitting requirements have been satisfied.
The FERC staff concluded that construction and operation of the project would have some adverse and significant environmental impacts; however, these impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels with the implementation of Rover Pipeline’s proposed mitigation and the additional measures recommended by staff in the final EIS. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Rover and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and contacts with the federal, state, and local agencies, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders. Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons were:
- Rover would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of its Project by implementing its Plan and Procedures; Horizontal Directional Drill Contingency Plan; state-specific Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plans; Unanticipated Discovery Plans; Spill Plan for Oil and Hazardous Materials; Blasting Plan; Winter Construction Plan; and Karst Mitigation Plan.
- FERC staff would complete Endangered Species Act consultations with the FWS prior to allowing any construction to begin.
- FERC staff would complete the process of complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing the regulations at 36 CFR 800 prior to allowing any construction to begin.
- Rover would use trenchless crossing methods for several waterbodies and wetlands. Rover would be required to obtain applicable permits and provide mitigation for unavoidable impacts on waterbodies and wetlands through coordination with the COE and applicable state agencies.
- FERC staff recommends that Rover cross waterbodies designated as coldwater fisheries and exceptional warmwater habitat using dry crossing methods.
- FERC staff recommends that Rover finalize with the FWS a Migratory Bird Conservation Plan that includes documentation of its consultation with the FWS regarding avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures.
- FERC staff recommends that Rover develop a property owner insurance tracking and mitigation plan.
- FERC staff recommends that Rover finalize its Drain Tile Relocation and Reclamation Plans and hire local drain tile contractors to complete any repairs or maintenance work associated with existing drain tiles.
- FERC staff would provide oversight of an environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring program that would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorizations and other approvals.
- In addition, FERC staff developed other site-specific mitigation measures that Rover should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction of its Project.The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the Projects.