Industries Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the HubLine/East to West Project (Docket No. CP08-420-000)
Issued: November 7, 2008
The FERC staff prepared a draft EIS for Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC's (Algonquin) HubLine/East to West Project (Project). The proposed Project would consist of approximately 31.4 miles of various diameter pipeline, including 12.9 miles of new pipeline in Massachusetts, 7.5 miles of replacement pipeline in Massachusetts, 11.0 miles of replacement pipeline in Connecticut, and associated ancillary facilities. Algonquin also proposes to construct a new 10,310-horsepower compressor station in Massachusetts and modify three existing compressor stations in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Aboveground over-pressure protection regulation would be installed at two existing meter stations and two new regulator stations in Massachusetts, and pig launcher and receiver facilities would be constructed to connect the proposed pipelines with existing Algonquin facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The draft EIS was prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.
The FERC staff has determined that if the proposed Project is approved and is constructed and operated in accordance with Algonquin's proposed mitigation measures, our additional recommended mitigation measures, and applicable laws and regulations, it would result in limited adverse environmental impacts. The primary reasons for the staff's conclusion that the Project would be an environmentally acceptable action are:
- 80 percent of the proposed pipelines would be within or adjacent to existing rights-of-way;
- Algonquin would protect natural and cultural resources and residential areas during construction and operation of the Project by implementing its Erosion & Sedimentation Control Plan; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan; Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) Contingency Plan; Site-specific Residential Construction Plans; Blasting Plan; Invasive Plant Species Control Plan; Wetland Restoration Procedures for Temporary Wetland Impacts; and Procedures Guiding the Discovery of Unanticipated Cultural Resources and Human Remains;
- Use of the HDD method for the crossings of the Weymouth Fore and Shetucket Rivers would minimize impacts on the bed, banks, and essential fish habitat associated with these waterbodies;
- Algonquin would implement a compensatory wetland mitigation plan to compensate for forested wetland impacts and preserve upland forest;
- Algonquin's proposed Rehoboth Compressor Station would disturb a relatively small area within the center of a large forested site, the remainder of which would be preserved as screening and buffering for the compressor station or potentially used as conservation or mitigation areas;
- Algonquin would submit documentation of concurrence from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management that the Project is consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Act before construction;
- Endangered Species Act consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service have been completed;
- The appropriate consultations with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, and Native American tribes would be completed before Algonquin would be allowed to begin construction in any given area; and
- An environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring program would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and other approvals.
The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration the staff's recommendations and the final EIS when they make a decision on the Project.
Comments on the draft EIS are due on or before December 29, 2008.