The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Gas Transmission Northwest LLC’s (GTN) GTN Xpress Project (Project).
GTN proposes to modify the existing Athol Compressor Station in Kootenai County, Idaho; the existing Starbuck Compressor Station in Walla Walla County, Washington; and the existing Kent Compressor Station in Sherman County, Oregon. This Project would increase the capacity of GTN’s existing natural gas transmission system by about 150 million standard cubic feet per day between Idaho and Oregon. According to GTN, the Project is necessary to serve the growing market demand its system is experiencing.
Specifically, GTN proposes to complete the activities described below.
Athol Compressor Station
- Uprate an existing Solar Turban Titan 130 gas-fired turbine compressor from 14,300 horsepower (HP) to 23,470 HP via a software upgrade only, no mechanical work or ground disturbance would occur at this location.
Starbuck Compressor Station
- Uprate an existing Solar Turban Titan 130 gas-fired turbine compressor from 14,300 HP to 23,470 HP; and
- Install a new 23,470 HP Solar Turbine Titan 130 gas-fired turbine compressor and associated piping, and 3 new gas cooling bays and associated piping.
Kent Compressor Station
- Uprate an existing Solar Turban Titan 130 gas-fired turbine compressor from 14,300 HP to 23,470 HP;
- Install 4 new gas cooling bays and associated piping; and
- Improve an existing access road.
The new Starbuck Compressor Station facilities would be located within the fenced boundaries of the existing site. The new Kent Compressor Station Facilities would be located in an expanded and fenced area abutting the existing site. As previously mentioned, no mechanical work or ground disturbance would occur at the Athol Compressor Station.
The 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 the FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a cooperating agency that provided FERC environmental staff with assistance preparing the EIS because it has special expertise with respect to environmental resources and impacts associated with the Project. The conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff.
The FERC staff concludes that modifying and installing the Project facilities would result in limited adverse impacts on the environment. Most adverse environmental impacts would be temporary or short-term and would have minimal impact on existing land use as the Project facilities would be located within the fenced-boundaries of existing compressor stations or abutting an existing compressor station. To ensure impacts on the environment are avoided, reduced, and minimized to the extent practical, staff recommends that GTN implement additional mitigation measures. These recommendations are identified in sections 4 and 5 of the EIS. Staff also recommends that these mitigation measures be attached as conditions to any authorization issued by the Commission. Therefore, with the exception of climate change impacts that are not characterized in this EIS as significant or insignificant, staff concludes that Project impacts on the environment would not be significant.