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Draft Environmental Impact Statement


Environmental Assessment for the Abandonment and Capacity Restoration Project (Docket No. CP15-88-000)
Issued November 2, 2016


The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for the Abandonment and Capacity Restoration Project (ACRP) proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (TGP).

The ACRP would include: (1) abandonment in place of about 964 miles of pipeline and associated facilities between Columbiana County, Ohio, and Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana; (2) construction and operation of new and replacement pipeline facilities totaling about 15.5 miles in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi; (3) construction and operation of four new compressor stations in Ohio; and (4) modification of two compressor stations in Kentucky.

The EA has been 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 conclusions and recommendations presented in the EA are those of the FERC environmental staff.

The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the ACRP would not have significant environmental impacts due to the limited overall size of disturbance, implementation of TGP’s proposed mitigation measures, and additional measures recommended in the EA. These conclusions are based on our independent review of the ACRP, information provided by TGP and concerned citizens, and our consultations with federal regulatory and resource agencies. Although many factors were considered during our environmental review, the principal reasons for these conclusions are:

  • construction and abandonment activities would affect only about 532.3 acres, spread out over multiple states;

  • the majority of the proposed pipeline facilities would be collocated within or adjacent to existing rights-of-way;

  • TGP would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of the Project by implementing construction and restoration plans, including FERC’s Erosion Control, Revegetation and Maintenance Plan (without deviation) and FERC’s Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures (with alternative measures), referred to as TGP’s Plan and Procedures; and other Project-specific plans (state-specific Unanticipated Discovery Plans for Cultural Resources and Human Remains; site-specific residential plans; Plan for the Unanticipated Discovery of Potentially Contaminated Soils or Groundwater; Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plans; Invasive Species Management Plan; Migratory Bird Conservation Plan; visual impact mitigation plan for Compressor Stations 202.5 and 211.5; and Winter Construction Plan);

  • all of the proposed facilities would be constructed and operated in compliance with federal standards, requirements, and thresholds including U.S. Department of Transportation materials requirements and Environmental Protection Agency air emissions standards;

  • waterbodies with flow at the time of construction would be crossed using dry crossing methods, and the Applicant would be required to obtain applicable permits and provide mitigation for unavoidable impacts on waterbodies and wetlands through coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state regulatory agencies;

  • we would complete Endangered Species Act consultations with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the process of complying with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing the regulations at 36 CFR 800 prior to allowing any construction to begin; and

  • if the ACRP is approved, environmental inspection and monitoring programs would ensure compliance with all construction and mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorizations.

Comments on the EA must be received in Washington, DC on or before December 2, 2016. The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the project.