Industries Environmental Documents
FERC Staff Issues the FEIS for the Annova LNG Brownsville Project (CP16-480-000)
Issued: April 19, 2019
The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Annova LNG Brownsville Project (Project) proposed by Annova LNG Common Infrastructure, LLC; Annova LNG Brownsville A, LLC; Annova LNG Brownsville B, LLC; and Annova LNG Brownsville C, LLC (collectively Annova).
Annova requests authorization under Section 3(a) of the Natural Gas Act and Part 153 of the Commission’s regulations to site, construct, and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal (LNG terminal) to liquefy and export natural gas at a proposed site on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas. The Project consists of the following facilities:
- pipeline meter station;
- natural gas pretreatment and liquefaction facilities;
- two LNG storage tanks;
- marine dock and LNG transfer facilities;
- control room, administration/maintenance building;
- site access road; and
- utilities (power, water, and communication systems).
Natural gas would be delivered to the Project site via a non-jurisdictional intrastate, 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline lateral that would be constructed, owned, and operated by a third party, separate from Annova. Annova has indicated that up to 125 LNG ships would be required to export the 6.95 million tons of LNG per year.
The EIS has been prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500–1508 (40 CFR 1500-1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).
The conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff. Input from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Park Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), as cooperating agencies, was considered during the development of our conclusions and recommendations; however, these agencies could develop their own conclusions and recommendations and would adopt the final EIS per 40 CFR 1506.3 (where applicable) if, after an independent review of the document, they conclude that their permitting requirements have been satisfied.
We determined that the construction and operation of the Project would result in adverse environmental impacts. Most impacts on the environment from the proposed Project would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Annova’s proposed impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by FERC staff. However, the Project would have significant construction noise impacts during the six months of nighttime pile-driving. In addition, the Project, combined with other projects in the geographic scope, including the Rio Grande LNG and Texas LNG Projects, would result in significant cumulative impacts from: construction noise during nighttime pile-driving; sediment/turbidity and shoreline erosions within the Brownsville Ship Channel during operations from vessel transits; on the federally listed ocelot and jaguarundi from habitat loss and potential for increased vehicular strikes during construction; on the federally listed aplomado falcon from habitat loss; and on visual resources from the presence of aboveground structures
We based our conclusions upon information provided by Annova and through data requests; field investigations; literature research; geospatial analysis; alternatives analysis; public comments and scoping sessions; and coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes. The following factors were also considered in our conclusions:
- impacts on wetlands and aquatic habitat, including Essential Fish Habitat, would be mitigated per Annova’s draft Conceptual Mitigation Plan;
- Annova would implement its Project-specific Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures to minimize construction impacts on soils, wetlands, and waterbodies;
- we recommend that all appropriate consultations with the FWS and NOAA Fisheries under the Endangered Species Act should be completed before construction is allowed to begin;
- we recommend that Annova file all outstanding cultural resource reports and agency comments for our review before construction is allowed to begin;
- the Coast Guard issued a Letter of Recommendation indicating the BSC would be considered suitable for the LNG marine traffic associated with the Project;
- estimated air quality impacts from the Project would not exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and construction and operational noise impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels through mitigation and our recommendations;
- the LNG terminal design would include acceptable layers of protection or safeguards that would reduce the risk of a potentially hazardous scenario from developing into an event that could impact the offsite public; and
- FERC’s environmental and engineering inspection and mitigation monitoring program for this Project would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures and conditions of any FERC Authorization.
In addition, we developed site-specific mitigation measures that Annova should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction and operation of the Project. The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the Project.