Hackberry Environmental Impact Statement
Executive Summary

I scanned this Executive from the full EIS. While I have gone over it, I cannot say I have proofread it. What you see is what you get. It will give you an idea of what is in the EIS.
 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Hackberry LNG Terminal, L.L.C (Hackberry LNG) Project has been prepared by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) to fulfill the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Commission's implementing regulations under Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 380. The purpose of this document is to inform the public and the permitting agencies about the potential adverse and beneficial environmental impacts of the proposed project and its alternatives; and to recommend mitigation measures that would avoid or reduce any significant adverse impact to the maximum extent possible.

Hackberry LNG proposes to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, and to construct and operate anew natural gas pipeline and ancillary facilities in the State of Louisiana. Hackberry LNG's proposed facilities would re-vaporize and transport up to 1,500,000 dekatherms per day of imported LNG to the United States market. In order to provide these services, Hackberry LNG requests Commission authorization to construct the following facilities:

  • a ship unloading slip with two berths, each equipped with three liquid unloading arms and one vapor return arm;

  • three LNG storage tanks, each with a usable volume of 1,006,000 barrels (3.5 billion standard cubic feet of gas equivalent);

  • nine first stage pumps, each sized for 250 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd);

  • ten second stage pumps, each sized for 188 MMscfd;

  • twelve submerged combustion vaporizers, each sized for ISO MMscfd;

  • a boil-off gas compressor and condensing system;

  • an LNG circulation system;

  • a natural gas liquids recovery unit;

  • ancillary utilities, buildings, and service facilities at the LNG terminal; and

  •  a 35.4-mile, 36-inch-diameter natural gas sendout pipeline.

PROJECT IMPACTS

The environmental issues associated with construction and operation of the Hackberry LNG Project are analyzed in this draft EIS using information provided by Hackberry LNG and further developed from data requests; field investigations; literature research; alternatives analysis; contacts with Federal, state, and local agencies; and input from public groups and organizations.

Construction of the Hackberry LNG Project would affect a total of about 584.3 acres of land, 100.8 acres on the terminal site and 483.5 acres along the pipeline right-of-way. Hackberry LNG would lease 118.6 acres for the Hackberry Terminal, of which 100.8 acres would be used for the permanent facilities, 15.8 acres would remain undisturbed, and 2.0 acres would be used as temporary construction areas. Of the 483.5 acres of land affected by construction of the pipeline facilities, about 198.9 acres would be retained as new permanent right-of-way.

Construction and operation of the proposed facilities would have minimal impacts on geologic resources. The proposed Hackberry Terminal site lies in an area of low seismic risk. However, the site is located within an area that is prone to hurricanes. The potential effects of flooding associated with hurricane storm surges has been incorporated into the design of the LNG facilities

The proposed Hackberry Terminal would be constructed adjacent to the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which is part of the Calcasieu River. The proposed pipeline would cross 75 perennial waterbodies, 38 intermittent waterbodies, and one pond. Hackberry LNG has proposed to use the Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) technique to cross six major and intermediate named waterbodies, including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Choupique Bayou, Houston River Canal, Houston River, Beckwith Creek, and Hickory Branch. Another I I minor waterbodies would be drilled as part of these primary HDD crossings. We have requested that Hackberry LNG examine the feasibility of using the HDD technique to cross the Little River. The remaining waterbodies along the pipeline route would be crossed using the open-cut method. To minimize impacts on surface waters in the project area, Hackberry LNG would implement the protective measures in the FERC's Wetland and Waterbodv Construction and Mitigation Procedures (FERC Procedures) and its Spill Prevention, Containment, and Countermeasures Plan.

Construction of the Hackberry LNG Project would affect a total of about 203.1 acres of wetlands, 55.0 acres on the terminal site and 148.1 acres along the pipeline route. Of the 55.0 acres of estuarine emergent marsh that would be permanently affected during construction of the proposed LNG facility, 46.0 acres would be filled and 9.0 acres would be dredged. Hackberry LNG would mitigate for the permanent loss of these wetlands by creating at least 85 acres of coastal marsh in an area near the proposed terminal site using material dredged during construction of the facility. Of the 148.1 acres of wetland that would be temporarily affected during construction of the proposed pipeline, 12.1 acres of forested and scrub-shrub wetlands would be permanently converted to different vegetation types as the result of vegetation maintenance activities during pipeline operation. To minimize impacts on wetlands, Hackberry LNG would implement the protective measures in our Procedures, including limiting the construction right-of-way width to 75 feet in wetlands.

Construction of the proposed pipeline would also result in the clearing of about 148.0 acres of forest vegetation. Maintenance of the right-of-way during pipeline operations would result in the permanent loss of about 74.2 acres of forest land. Most of this forest land is currently in pine plantation and is harvested regularly as part of normal silviculture activities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified one federally listed endangered species and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) identified 11 federally listed endangered or threatened species that could potentially occur in the project area. Based on our analysis of information on these species, we have determined that the project would have no effect on six of these species and would not likely adversely affect the other six species. This draft EIS serves as a Biological Assessment which is necessary for compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

The NMFS also identified Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for brown shrimp, white shrimp, and red drum in the vicinity of the proposed project. Because Hackberry LNG would implement conservation measures to avoid or minimize potential impacts on EFH, we believe that there would be no substantial adverse impacts on the managed fisheries in the project area. This draft EIS includes an EFH Assessment that is necessary for compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

There are two residences potentially located within 50 feet of the proposed construction right-of-way. Hackberry LNG has proposed two alternative construction methods (open-cut and HDD) and has prepared site-specific plans for these residences, located at Mileposts 16.3 and 16.4. We have recommended that if the open-cut method is used to construct the pipeline near these residences, Hackberry LNG develop site-specific screening plans to replace trees/screening removed during construction.

Hackberry LNG has not received its Coastal Use Permit and subsequent consistency determination from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). We have recommended that Hackberry LNG file documentation of the LDNR's determination that the project is consistent with the laws and rules of the Louisiana Coastal Resources Program before construction.

Hackberry LNG conducted cultural resources surveys of the proposed LNG terminal site and the pipeline route. No cultural resources were found on the terminal site. The cultural resources survey of the pipeline corridor identified two archeological sites, an archaeological "find spot", and two historic period standing structures. The archeological sites and "find spot" were determined to be not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The historic period standing structures were determined to be potentially eligible for listing on the NRHP but Hackberry LNG would avoid both sites during construction. Because cultural resources surveys have not been conducted in all areas potentially affected during project construction, we have recommended that Hackberry LNG defer construction of the LNG terminal and pipeline facilities and use of all staging, storage, and temporary work areas and new or to-be­improved access roads until these surveys are completed and the cultural resources survey reports, any required treatment plan, and State Historic Preservation Office comments are filed and approved by the FERC.

Air emissions during construction of the proposed LNG terminal and natural gas pipeline would be localized and temporary and would not significantly affect air quality in the region. Air emissions resulting from operation of the LNG facility would be low since equipment would burn natural gas, and the vaporizers

and hot oil heaters would use burners with low nitrogen oxide (NOr) emissions. Hackberry LNG would limit

NO., emissions to 239.6 tons per year at the proposed LNG terminal.

We have examined potential ship traffic congestion impacts from the additional LNG ship traffic. We evaluated factors that may cause vessel delays, as well as the specific operational differences between LNG vessels and other large vessels in the Calcasieu Ship Channel, and recommended several mitigation measures which would benefit all channel users and may reduce some of the current sources of vessel delays.

We completed a cryogenic design and technical review, as well as a thermal radiation and vapor dispersion exclusion zone analysis, for the proposed Hackberry Terminal. Several areas of concern were noted and specific recommendations, to be addressed prior to construction, have been identified.

ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED

We considered the alternatives of no action or postponed action. While the no action or postponed action alternatives would eliminate the environmental impacts identified in this draft EIS, the objectives of the proposed project would not be met and Hackberry LNG would not be able to provide a new source of natural gas supply to the United States market.

Our analysis of alternatives included an evaluation of the use of existing LNG import and storage systems, as well as recently proposed offshore facilities, to meet the objectives of the proposed Hackberry LNG Project. We also compared five potential terminal site alternatives to the LNG terminal site proposed by Hackberry LNG. In examining alternative sites for an LNG import terminal, we have concluded that a site along the Industrial Canal, located 5 miles north of the proposed site, has several advantages which warrant further investigation. Use of this site may not require filling or excavating of wetlands and could shorten the proposed pipeline by about 7.2 miles. Consequently, we are seeking additional information regarding the suitability and availability of this site. The final EIS will incorporate additional analysis of the Industrial Canal Site.

Our alternatives analysis includes the evaluation of existing pipeline systems that could be used to reduce the length of the proposed pipeline and still accomplish the objectives of the proposed project. Additionally, we examined six pipeline route alternatives to determine if impacts associated with the proposed route could be avoided or reduced by following a different alignment.

Finally, we reported on the 22 alternative dredge disposal sites that Hackberry LNG evaluated for use during construction of the LNG terminal. Final selection and use of a disposal site(s) would require approval by the COE and LDEQ.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT AND AREAS OF CONCERN

On July 15, 2002, the FERC issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Hackberry LNG Terminal Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Meetings and Site Visit (NOI). The NO) was sent to 417 interested parties including Federal, state, and local officials; agency representatives; conservation organizations; local libraries and newspapers; intervenors in the FERC proceeding; residents within 0.5 mile of the proposed LNG terminal; and property owners along the proposed pipeline route.

On August 6, 2002, FERC staff conducted a public scoping meeting i n Sulphur, Louisiana to provide an opportunity for the general public to learn more about the proposed project and to participate in our analysis by commenting on issues to be included in the draft EIS. We received a total of 18 comments, both written and oral. Issues raised related to water quality, coastal wetlands, protected species, land use and property values, ship traffic, and alternatives analysis. Comments and concerns provided during scoping have been incorporated and addressed, where appropriate, in this document. A transcript of the public scoping meeting and all written comments are part of the public record for the Hackberry LNG Project.

On the day of the meeting, FERC staff also conducted a site visit, open to the public, to the LNG terminal site and pipeline route. In addition, FERC staff attended an interagency meeting, on September 11, 2002, with representatives of Federal and state resource agencies, as well as representatives of Hackberry LNG. This meeting was also publically noticed and open to the public.

This draft EIS was filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and mailed to 318 Federal, State, and local agencies, elected officials, Native American groups, newspapers, public libraries, intervenors to the FERC's proceeding, and other interested parties (i.e., landowners, other individuals, and environmental groups who provided scoping comments).2 A formal notice that the draft EIS is available for review and intervenors are official parties to the proceeding and have the right to receive copies of case-related Commission documents and filings by other inlervenors. Likewise, each interven r must provide 14 copies of its filings to the Secretary of the Commission and must send a copy of its filings to all other intervenors. Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision.

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comment has been published in the Federal Register. The public has 45 days to review and comment on the draft EIS both in the form of written comments and at public meetings planned in the project vicinity. All comments received on the draft EIS will be addressed in the final EIS.

MAJOR CONCLUSION

We conclude that, with the use of Hackberry LNG's proposed mitigation and adoption of our recommended mitigation measures, construction and operation of the proposed facilities would have limited adverse environmental impact. The impacts would be most significant during the construction period. As part of our analysis, we have developed specific mitigation measures that we believe to be appropriate and reasonable for construction and operation of the proposed project. We believe these measures would substantially reduce the environmental impact of the project.