The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission), with the participation of the cooperating agencies listed below, has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Southgate Project (Southgate Project or Project) proposed by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (Mountain Valley). Pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act, Mountain Valley is seeking a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct and operate certain interstate natural gas transmission facilities.
The Project would involve the construction and operation of 75.1 miles of 16-inch and 24-inch-diameter interstate natural gas transmission pipeline in Virginia and North Carolina. Mountain Valley also proposes to construct and operate a new compressor station (Lambert Compressor Station) in Virginia; four new meter stations; four interconnects; four pig launchers and receivers at three locations; eight mainline valves; and four cathodic protection beds. Associated with construction of the proposed facilities would be contractor yards, staging areas, temporary extra workspaces, and access roads. The Project is designed to transport 375 million cubic feet of gas per day.
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 CFR 1500-1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380). The FERC is the federal agency responsible for regulating the siting and construction of interstate natural gas transmission pipelines. FERC is the lead federal agency responsible for the preparation of this final EIS. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service are cooperating agencies for the development of this final EIS consistent with 40 CFR 1501.6(b). A cooperating agency has jurisdiction by law or has special expertise with respect to the environment potentially affected by the Project. The cooperating agencies provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the final EIS. Following issuance of the final EIS, the cooperating agencies will issue subsequent decisions, determinations, permits or authorizations for the Project in accordance with each individual agency’s regulatory requirements. We conclude that approval of the Project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels through implementation of our recommendations and Mountain Valley’s proposed avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. The following factors were also considered in our conclusions:
- about 36.8 miles, or about 49 percent, of the 75.1-mile-long pipeline route would be constructed adjacent to existing rights-of-way;
- Mountain Valley would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of the Project by implementing Mountain Valley’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures, its Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, and other Project-specific plans (e.g., Unanticipated Discovery of Historic Properties and Human Remains Plan, Horizontal Directional Drill Contingency Plan, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan, Exotic and Invasive Species Control Plan, Traffic Management Plan, and Landslide Mitigation Plan);
- the FERC staff would complete the process of complying with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act prior to construction;
- the FERC staff would complete consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implement regulations at 36 CFR 800 prior to construction;
- Mountain Valley would comply with all applicable federal requirements and associated air and noise regulatory requirements during construction and operation of the Project; and
- an environmental inspection program and a third-party monitoring oversight program would be implemented to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorization.
In addition, we recommend that the Project-specific impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures that we have developed (included in this final EIS as recommendations) be attached as conditions to any Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Commission for the Project
The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the Project.