FERC has released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Golden Pass LNG Export Project proposed by Golden Pass Products, LLC and Golden Pass Pipeline, LLC.
The EIS was prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 1500–1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Transportation participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the final EIS. The comment period on the draft EIS closed on May 16, 2016, and the final EIS includes responses to those comments.
FERC’s environmental staff concluded that construction and operation of the project would result in some adverse and significant environmental impacts; however, most impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels with the implementation of Golden Pass’ proposed mitigation and additional measures recommended by staff. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Golden Pass and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analysis; and contacts with federal, state, and local agencies as well as Indian tribes and individual members of the public. Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons were:
- Construction and operation of the proposed liquefaction facility would not result in increased LNG vessel traffic (i.e., LNG vessel traffic would not exceed 200 vessels per year considered by the U.S. Coast Guard in its waterway suitability reviews).
- All 2.6 miles of the proposed new pipelines would be looped and would overlap with the adjacent existing pipeline right-of-way, which would minimize new disturbance.
- Golden Pass would mitigate wetland impacts associated with the construction and operation of the proposed liquefaction facility in accordance with the project-specific Compensatory Mitigation Plan.
- The FERC would complete the process of complying with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act prior to construction.
- The FERC staff has completed consultation under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800 and determined that no historic properties would be affected by the project.
- Golden Pass would comply with all applicable air and noise regulatory requirements during construction and operation of the project.
- Golden Pass would minimize impacts on environmental resources during construction and operation of the project by implementing, as applicable, their Spill Prevention and Response Plan; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plans; Plan for Unanticipated Discovery of Contaminated Soils or Groundwater; Horizontal Directional Drill Contingency Plan; Compensatory Mitigation Plan; Unanticipated Discovery Plans (for cultural resources); and the FERC’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures.
- An environmental inspection program would be implemented to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorization.