FERC issues Environmental Assessment on the Cove Point Liquefaction Project

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 19 May 2014 08:14
Tags: dominion lng n-america usa

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The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for the Cove Point Liquefaction Project (Project). The Project is proposed by Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP (DCP).

The Project would enable DCP to export approximately 5.75 million metric tons per annum of LNG via LNG marine carriers that would dock at the existing offshore pier. A draft General Conformity Determination has also been prepared by the FERC to assess the potential air quality impacts associated with construction and operation of the proposed Project and is included as an appendix of the EA. The proposed facilities associated with the LNG Terminal include the following:

  • one LNG liquefaction train consisting of gas treatment equipment, natural gas-fired turbine-driven refrigerant compressors, waste heat recovery systems, fire and gas detection and safety systems, and control systems;
  • additional power generation including waste heat-driven steam turbine generators and other electrical accessories to supplement the existing on-site power generation;
  • minor modifications to the existing pier; and
  • the use of two off-site areas to support construction.

The Project would also include the addition of up to 62,500 horsepower of electric-driven compression at DCP’s existing Pleasant Valley Compressor Station in Fairfax County, Virginia, and modifications to an existing metering and regulating facility at DCP’s Loudoun Compressor Station in Loudoun County, Virginia.

The EA 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 EA are those of the FERC environmental staff. Input from the the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources, as cooperating agencies, was considered during the development of the staff’s conclusions and recommendations and draft General Conformity Determination. Although the cooperating agencies provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the EA, the agencies will present their own conclusions and recommendations in their respective Records of Decision or determinations for the Project.

The FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed Project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Potential impacts would be reduced with the implementation of DCP’s proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the 82 additional measures recommended in the EA. These conclusions are supported by the following:

  • the U.S. Coast Guard indicated that DCP’s existing Waterway Suitability Assessment and Letter of Recommendation are adequate for the vessel service associated with the Project;
  • based on FERC staff’s technical review of the preliminary engineering designs, as well as suggested mitigation measures, FERC staff concludes that sufficient layers of safeguards would be included in the facility designs to mitigate the potential for an incident that could impact the safety of the off-site public;
  • as noted in the Draft General Conformity Determination, DCP has committed to fully offsetting the Project construction nitrogen oxide emissions through the purchase of emission reduction credits from within the Washington, DC air quality control region and FERC staff has determinted that the Project will achieve conformity;
  • DCP would obtain all necessary federal authorizations prior to commencement of construction;
  • consultation required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is completed; and
  • DCP would reduce and mitigate impacts on natural resources during construction by implementing its Erosion and Sediment Control Plans; Stormwater Management Plans; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan; final Forest Preservation Plan; and final Oyster Bar Mitigation Plan.

Comments on the EA must be received in Washington, DC on or before June 16, 2014. The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations and comments received when they make a decision on the Project.

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