Draft EIS for the Downeast LNG Project

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 08 Mar 2012 11:39

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The FERC staff prepared a draft EIS for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal proposed by Downeast LNG, Inc. and the associated natural gas sendout pipeline proposed by Downeast Pipeline, LLC. The Downeast LNG terminal would be located on the south side of Mill Cove on Passamaquoddy Bay in the town of Robbinston, Maine. The proposed 30-inch-diameter natural gas sendout pipeline would extend from the Downeast LNG terminal about 29.8 miles northwest through Washington County, Maine, to an interconnect point with Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline LLC.'s (M&NE) existing pipeline system near the town of Baileyville, Maine.

The draft EIS was prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard); U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the Downeast LNG Project would result in some adverse environmental impacts. However, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of the applicants' proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures we recommend in the draft EIS. The primary reasons for our decision are:

  • The Coast Guard's Letter of Recommendation states that the Passamaquoddy Bay Waterway is suitable for the type and frequency of marine traffic associated with the proposed project, provided that all of the recommended risk mitigation measures outlined in the Water Suitability Report (WSR) are fully implemented by the applicant;
  • Adverse impacts on sensitive habitats and wildlife species would be avoided or minimized with incorporation of our recommendations;
  • Consultation required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, would be completed before Downeast would be allowed to begin construction;
  • Downeast has committed to obtain all federal permits and authorizations and to follow the permitting requirements of the State of Maine;
  • Downeast is continuing consultation with federal and state agencies to finalize a wetlands mitigation plan; develop a Prevention and Mitigation Manual, develop a final Deer Wintering Area mitigation package, determine seasonal or construction timing restrictions, and determine mitigation strategies to minimize acoustic harassment or harm to marine species;
  • Downeast would implement a project specific Upland Erosion Control and Revegetation Plan, Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures, and Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines to minimize impacts on soils, wetlands and waterbodies;
  • Downeast would maintain a 250-foot vegetated buffer at the terminal site and would paint the tanks a neutral color to minimize visual impacts;
  • The environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring program would ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that become conditions if the project is authorized by the Commission; and
  • Downeast would have to implement the measures outlined by the Coast Guard in its WSR issued January 6, 2009 and comply with all requirements set forth by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port.

The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration the staff's recommendations and the final EIS when they make a decision on the Downeast LNG Project.

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