FERC Staff Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Oregon LNG Project Docket Nos. CP09-6-000, 001 and CP09-7-000, 001); and the Washington Expansion Project (Docket No. CP13-507-000)
Issued August 5, 2015

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Oregon LNG Terminal and Pipeline Project (Oregon LNG Project) and Washington Expansion Project.

LNG Development Company, LLC is requesting authorization to site, construct, and operate an onshore, import/export liquefied natural gas terminal and associated facilities on the East Bank Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton, Oregon. The proposed terminal includes feed gas pretreatment, liquefaction, and regasification facilities; two 160,000-cubic-meter LNG storage tanks; a turning basin; and berth for one LNG carrier. The terminal would have a base load liquefaction capacity of 9.6 million tons per annum and a base load regasification capacity of 0.5 billion cubic feet per day. Oregon Pipeline Company, LLC is requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct and operate an 86.8-mile-long, 36 inch diameter bidirectional pipeline to transport natural gas to and from the terminal to interconnect with the interstate transmission system of Northwest Pipeline LLC (Northwest), near Woodland, Washington; and construct a single electrically driven compressor station in Columbia County, Oregon. LNG Development Company, LLC and Oregon Pipeline Company, LLC are collectively referred to as Oregon LNG.

To provide 750,000 dekatherms per day natural gas for the terminal, Northwest is proposing to expand the capacity of its existing Northwest Pipeline between Sumas and Woodland, Washington, by constructing and operating 10 noncontiguous 36-inch-diameter pipeline loops for a total of 140.6 miles. Northwest would also increase compression at five existing compressor stations and abandon-by-removal certain above ground facilities and segments of its existing, previously abandoned 26-inch-diameter pipeline. At most locations, the new 36-inch-diameter pipeline would be installed in the existing trench of the removed 26-inch-diameter pipeline.

The draft EIS was 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and U.S. Department of Energy participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the draft EIS.

FERC’s environmental staff concludes that construction and operation of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts. However, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of minimization and mitigation measures proposed by Oregon LNG and Northwest, and the additional measures recommended by the FERC staff in the draft EIS. Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:

  • Oregon LNG would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of the projects by implementing measures contained in its Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures (Plan and Procedures); and other project-specific plans including: Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan; Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Plan; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan; Inadvertent Release Contingency Plan; Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plan; Residential Construction Plans; Wetland Mitigation Plan; Fish Salvage Plan; State Forest Mitigation Plan; Procedures for Unanticipated Discovery of Cultural Resources and Human Remains; and Traffic Management Plans.
  • Northwest would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of the project by implementing measures contained in its Plan and Procedures and other project-specific plans including: Erosion Control and Revegetation Plan; Inadvertent Release Contingency Plan; Residential Construction Plans; Site-specific School Construction Plans; Unanticipated Discovery of Contamination Plan; Procedures for the Unanticipated Discovery of Cultural Resources and Human Remains; and Water Quality Monitoring Plan.
  • Oregon LNG and Northwest would use horizontal directional drilling or the direct pipe method for most major waterbodies, which would generally avoid direct impacts on aquatic and water resources.
  • The majority of the Washington Expansion Project (94 percent) would be constructed within Northwest’s existing pipeline right-of-way.
  • FERC staff's technical review of the preliminary engineering designs, as well as suggested mitigation measures, indicates that sufficient layers of safeguards would be included in the facility designs to mitigate the potential for an incident that could impact safety of the off-site public.
  • U.S. Coast Guard's Letter of Recommendation indicates that the waterway would be suitable for the type and frequency of the marine traffic associated with the Oregon LNG Project.
  • Endangered Species Act consultations would be completed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service prior to allowing any construction to begin.
  • Consultation regarding Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementation of the regulations at 36 CFR 800 would be concluded prior to allowing any construction to begin.
  • FERC staff would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorizations and other approvals during our oversight of the environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring programs for both projects.

Comments on the draft EIS must be received in Washington, DC on or before October 6, 2015. Once the final EIS is issued, the FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when the Commission makes a decision on the projects.

This page was last updated on May 05, 2020