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FERC issues final environmental impact statement for Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express pipeline project

Published by
World Pipelines,


The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline (Project) proposed by Venture Global Plaquemines LNG, LLC (Plaquemines LNG) and Venture Global Gator Express, LLC (Gator Express Pipeline).

On February 28, 2017, Plaquemines LNG filed an application with the Commission for authorisation pursuant to section 3(a) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and part 153 of the Commission’s regulations. In Docket No. CP17-66-000, Plaquemines LNG requests authorisation to site, construct, and operate natural gas liquefaction, storage, and export facilities at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana (the LNG terminal).

Also on February 28, 2017, Gator Express Pipeline filed an application with FERC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity pursuant to section 7(c) of the NGA and part 157 of the Commission’s regulations. In Docket No. CP17-67-000, Gator Express Pipeline requests authorisation to construct and operate associated lateral pipelines that would connect the LNG terminal to the existing U.S. natural gas transmission grid (pipeline system). The pipeline laterals would be located within Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

The Project consists of the following facilities:

  • LNG Terminal: Construction and operation of various liquefaction, LNG distribution, and appurtenant facilities within the boundaries of the site leased by Venture Global on the Mississippi River, including:
    • Six pretreatment facilities (three in each phase).
    • A liquefaction plant with 18 integrated single-mixed refrigerant blocks and support facilities (otherwise referred to as liquefaction blocks or blocks) to be constructed in two phases (nine blocks in each phase).
    • Four 200 000 m3 aboveground LNG storage tanks.
    • Three LNG loading docks within a common LNG berthing area.
    • Air-cooled electric power generation facilities.
  • Pipeline System: Construction and operation of two parallel 42 in. diameter natural gas pipelines that share one right-of-way corridor for the majority of their respective routes and appurtenant aboveground facilities, including the following:
    • 15.1-mile-long Southwest Lateral Tennessee Gas Pipeline, LLC (TGP) Pipeline;
    • 11.7-mile-long Southwest Lateral Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (TETCO) Pipeline;
    • TGP metering and regulation station; and
    • TETCO metering and regulation station.

The final 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 in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500–1508 (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 US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as cooperating agencies, was considered during the development of our 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.

We determined that the construction and operation of the Project would result in adverse environmental impacts. However, the impacts on the environment from the proposed Project would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline’s proposed impact avoidance, minimisation, and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by FERC staff. We based our conclusions upon information provided by Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline, through data requests; field investigations; literature research; geospatial analysis; alternatives analysis; public comments and a scoping session; and coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes. The following factors were also considered in our conclusions:

  • No dredging would occur within the Mississippi River.
  • The horizontal directional drill method would be used to avoid direct affects to a canal and large wetland area and most of the pipeline would be installed in open water, which would minimise impacts on sensitive wetland resources.
  • Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline would mitigate wetland impacts associated with the construction and operation of the proposed LNG terminal and the pipelines in accordance with the project-specific Compensatory Mitigation Plan (CMP) and in accordance with USACE permit regulations.
  • The LNG terminal would be constructed in an area currently zoned for a mixture of “business park,” “port/terminal complex,” and “major industries.”
  • FERC staff would complete the process of complying with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act prior to construction.
  • Consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800 has been completed.
  • Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline would minimise impacts on environmental resources during construction and operation of the Project by implementing, as applicable, their Horizontal Directional Drilling Contingency Plan; CMP; and the Project-specific Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures. The siting requirements of DOT for the terminal, the Letter of Recommendation issued by the US Coast Guard for the LNG marine traffic in the Mississippi River, and the regulatory requirements for the pipeline and terminal would avoid a significant increase in public safety risks.
  • An environmental inspection programme would be implemented to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorisation.

In addition, we developed site-specific mitigation measures that Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction of the Project.

The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the Project.

Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/07052019/ferc-issues-final-environmental-impact-statement-for-plaquemines-lng-and-gator-express-pipeline-project/

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