Industries Environmental Documents
Draft EIS on North Baja Pipeline Expansion Project (Docket Nos. CP06-61-000 and CP01-23-003)
Issued: September 22, 2006
The staffs of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) and the California State Lands Commission (CSLC), the state co-lead agency, have prepared a draft environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) on the natural gas pipeline facilities proposed by North Baja Pipeline, LLC (North Baja) in the above-referenced dockets. North Baja’s Pipeline Expansion Project would be located in La Paz County, Arizona and Riverside and Imperial Counties, California.
North Baja proposes to construct 80 miles of 42- and 48-inch-diameter pipeline loop, a 46-mile-long, 16-inch-diameter pipeline lateral to the existing Imperial Irrigation District El Centro Generating Station, and other associated facilities.
The draft EIS/EIR was prepared to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, and the Federal Land Management and Policy Act.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are participating as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the draft EIS/EIR. The draft EIS/EIR will also be used by the BLM to consider amending the California Desert Conservation Area Plan and the Yuma District Resource Management Plan.
The FERC and CSLC staffs conclude that the proposed project, with the appropriate mitigation measures as recommended, would be an environmentally acceptable action. The principal reasons are:
- 99 percent of the proposed pipeline facilities would be constructed in or adjacent to various existing rights-of-way;
- No new permanent right-of-way would be required for the pipeline loop, and the permanent right-of-way for the lateral pipeline would be limited to a maximum width of 30 feet;
- North Baja would implement its various mitigation plans to protect natural resources and residential areas during construction and operation of the project;
- Use of the horizontal directional drill method would avoid disturbances to the beds and banks of the Colorado River, the All-American Canal, and the East Highline Canal and associated wetlands/riparian areas;
- The appropriate agency and tribal consultations, and any appropriate compliance actions resulting from these consultations, would be completed before North Baja 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 certification or approval.
FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations and the final EIS when they make a decision on the project.