Industries Environmental Documents
Staff of FERC Issue Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Cove Point Expansion Project (Docket No. CP05-130-000 et al.)
FERC staff prepared a draft environmental impact statement for Dominion Cove Point, LP and Dominion Transmission, Inc. (Dominion)'s Cove Point Expansion Project. The project includes expansion at the existing Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Calvert County, Maryland; about 161 miles of new pipeline in Maryland and Pennsylvania; and associated aboveground facilities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.
FERC's environmental staff concludes that Dominion Cove Point, LP and Dominion Transmission, Inc. (Dominion)'s Cove Point Expansion Project with appropriate mitigating measures, as recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact.
The draft EIS also includes a draft General Conformity Determination to assess the potential air quality impacts associated with construction and operation of the proposed project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard) cooperated in the preparation of the draft EIS.
Staff concludes the project would be environmentally acceptable action (with appropriate mitigation) because:
- The LNG terminal facilities would be an expansion of an existing, fully operating LNG import terminal with an established deep water dock and established exclusion zones.
- The proposed pipeline facilities would follow existing rights-of-way for about 90 percent of the proposed pipeline routes.
- Dominion has routed the pipeline facilities to avoid placement of the construction work area near residences to the maximum extent practicable.
- Dominion would implement the FERC's Plan and Procedures to minimize impacts on soils, wetlands, and waterbodies.
- Sensitive waterbodies, such as St. Leonard Creek, Patuxent River, Hunting Creek, and Mattawoman Creek in Maryland; and the Juniata River and Bald Eagle Creek in Pennsylvania, would be crossed using horizontal directional drill methodology.
- Noise impacts resulting from the aboveground facilities can be adequately mitigated with our recommended measures.
- Appropriate consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Corp, State Historic Preservation Offices, the Maryland Department of Environment (for coastal zone management plan consistency plan determination) would be required before Dominion would be allowed to begin construction.
- Safety features would be incorporated into the design and operation of the LNG terminal expansion facilities and LNG vessels.
- Operational controls would be imposed by the local pilots and the Coast Guard to direct movement of LNG ships, and security provisions would be imposed to deter attacks by a potential terrorist.
- The environmental and engineering inspection and mitigation monitoring program for this project would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of any FERC authorization.
FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff's recommendations and the final EIS when they make a decision on the project.