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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)


Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Bison Pipeline Project (Docket No. CP09-161-000)
Issued: August 21, 2009

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Bison Pipeline Project (or Project).

The proposed project facilities include approximately 302.5 miles of 30-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline extending northeast from a point near Dead Horse, Wyoming, through southeastern Montana and southwestern North Dakota, to an interconnect with Northern Border Pipeline Company's pipeline system near Northern Border's Compressor Station #6 in Morton County, North Dakota. Bison proposes one new compressor station totaling 4,700 horsepower of compression located in Hettinger County, North Dakota. The proposed Project has been designed to transport approximately 477 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.

The EIS has been prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 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 this EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff. Input from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as a cooperating agency, was considered during the development of our conclusions and recommendations; however, BLM would present their own conclusions and recommendations in their Record of Decision (ROD), and would adopt the final EIS per 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1506.3 if, after an independent review of the document, they conclude that their permitting requirements have been satisfied.

The FERC staff concludes that, if the proposed Project is approved and is constructed and operated in accordance with Bison's proposed minimization and mitigation measures and our recommended mitigation measures, the proposed facilities would result in some adverse environmental impacts. However, these impacts would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Bison's proposed mitigation and the additional measures we recommend in the EIS. Our conclusions are supported by the following:

    • The proposed Project would be collocated with existing utility rights-of-way for approximately 53.1 miles, or about 17.6 percent of the route;


    • The proposed route has been significantly influenced by agency recommendations to avoid sensitive wildlife habitats and vegetation types;


    • Bison has been responsive to landowner requests for minor route modifications and has adopted many of these into the route evaluated in this EIS;


    • Bison would implement its Plan and Procedures, as well as additional Project-specific plans, each of which would reduce and mitigate impacts to natural resources during construction and operation of the proposed Project;


    • All fisheries of special concern would be crossed using dry crossing methods based on Bison's proposal and our recommendation;


    • Bison would complete all necessary surveys for sensitive species and cultural resources, and the appropriate consultations would be complete before initiating construction; and


    • Bison would implement an environmental inspection and compliance monitoring program that would ensure compliance with all proposed mitigation measures and those required by the FERC Certificate and the BLM Right-of-Way Grant and Temporary Use Permit, should they be granted.
 
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Updated: June 28, 2010