Docket No. CP22-138-000
The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Northern Natural Gas Company Northern Lights 2023 Expansion Project in Docket No. CP22-138-000.
Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern) proposes to construct and operate certain interstate natural gas facilities in Freeborn, Washington, Scott, Sherburne, and Stearns Counties, Minnesota and Monroe County, Wisconsin. The Project would involve six new pipeline segments (four pipeline extensions and two pipeline loops) totaling 9.8 miles of pipe. The pipelines would range in size from 4 to 36 inches – in diameter. Northern also proposes construction of four new valve settings, abandonment and removal of two existing valve settings, and modifications at six existing aboveground facilities. The Project would allow Northern to provide up to 44,222 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of incremental winter peak day firm transportation service to Northern’s residential, commercial, and industrial customer market and 6,667 Dth/d of additional firm service that would allow enhanced reliability and flexibility in providing natural gas transportation capacity for electric generation.
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], 1502.13), and the FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380). The conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff.
FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the Project would result in some adverse environmental impacts. Most of these impacts would be temporary and occur during construction (e.g., impacts on land use, traffic, and noise). With implementation of Northern’s impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures, as well as adherence to Commission staff’s recommendations (found in Section 5.2 of the EIS), Commission staff conclude that project effects would be reduced to less than significant levels, except for climate change impacts that are not characterized in this EIS as significant or insignificant.
The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the Project.