The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Commonwealth LNG Project, proposed by Commonwealth LNG, LLC (Commonwealth).
Commonwealth requests authorization to site, construct, and operate a natural gas liquefaction and export terminal and an integrated Natural Gas Act Section 3 natural gas pipeline, in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The Project would consist of the following components: an 8.4 million metric tons per annum liquefaction Terminal and its associated facilities, including two flare systems; six 50,000 cubic meter liquid natural gas (LNG) storage tanks; one marine facility consisting of a single LNG carrier berth, barge dock, and vessel maneuvering area; 3.0 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline and its associated facilities, including two interconnection facilities at existing natural gas pipelines and one metering station. The pipeline would provide approximately 1.44 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to the LNG terminal.
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 in 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500–1508 (40 CFR 1500-1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the draft EIS. Cooperating agencies have jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to resources potentially affected by the proposal and participate in the NEPA analysis. Although the cooperating agencies provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the draft EIS, the agencies will present their own conclusions and recommendations in their respective Records of Decision for the project.
FERC staff conclude that approval of the proposed project, with the mitigation measures recommended in the EIS, would result in some adverse environmental impacts. Most of these impacts on the environment would be reduced to less than significant levels; however, FERC staff conclude there would be significant impacts on visual resources and environmental justice communities. This EIS is not characterizing the project’s greenhouse gas emissions as significant or insignificant because the Commission is conducting a generic proceeding to determine whether and how the Commission will conduct significance determinations going forward..
As part of the analysis, Commission staff developed specific mitigation measures that are practical, appropriate, and reasonable for the construction and operation of the Project (included in the draft EIS as recommendations). Staff are, therefore, recommending that these mitigation measures be attached as conditions to any authorization issued by the Commission.
The draft EIS comment period closes on May 23, 2022. The Commission will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the Commonwealth LNG Project.