Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff have prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Magnolia LNG Project, proposed by Magnolia LNG, LLC, and the Lake Charles Expansion Project, proposed by Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline, LLC (KMLP).
The Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects consist of two main components:
- The construction and operation of various liquefaction facilities, LNG storage tanks, LNG distribution facilities, LNG vessel berthing area, and appurtenant facilities within the boundaries of the site leased by Magnolia near Lake Charles, Louisiana.
- The reconfiguration of KMLP’s existing pipeline system in order to accommodate Magnolia’s request for natural gas service at the LNG terminal site, which includes a new compressor station (Compressor Station 760), new meter station (Magnolia Meter Station) and 40 ft long interconnect pipeline that would be located within the LNG terminal, new low and high pressure natural gas header pipelines that would be located adjacent to the existing KMLP easement, and modifications at six existing meter stations.
The projects would provide an LNG export capacity of 1.08 billion ft3/d of natural gas.
The draft EIS was prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 1500–1508 [40 CFR 1500–1508]), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380). The US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, US Department of Energy, US Environmental Protection Agency, and US Department of Transportation participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the draft EIS.
The FERC determined that construction and operation of the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects would result in limited adverse environmental impacts. Most adverse environmental impacts would be temporary or short term during construction and operation, although some long term and permanent environmental impacts on wetlands, vegetation, and land use would also occur as part of the projects. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Magnolia and KMLP and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analysis; contacts with federal, state, and local agencies as well as Indian tribes; and comments from individual members of the public. Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:
- Over 99% of the area permanently affected by the LNG terminal is within areas that have been previously disturbed by commercial or industrial activities.
- The facilities proposed by KMLP would occur either within the proposed LNG terminal site or within and adjacent to existing facilities, which would minimise new disturbance.
- Magnolia would mitigate impacts on jurisdictional wetlands associated with construction and operation of the proposed LNG terminal in accordance with Magnolia’s project specific Compensatory Mitigation Plan.
- The FERC staff would complete the process of complying with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act prior to construction.
- The FERC staff has completed consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800 and determined that no historic properties would be affected by the projects.
- Magnolia and KMLP would comply with all applicable air and noise regulatory requirements during construction and operation of the projects.
- Magnolia and KMLP would minimise impacts on environmental resources during construction and operation of the projects by implementing, as applicable, their spill prevention plans; Magnolia’s Compensatory Mitigation Plan; Unanticipated Discovery Plans (for cultural resources); and by implementing the FERC’s Plan and Procedures (KMLP) or the project specific Plan and Procedures (Magnolia).
- An environmental inspection programme would be implemented to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorisation.
Comments on the draft EIS must be received in Washington, DC on or before 8 September 2015. Once the final EIS is issued, the FERC Commissioners will take into consideration the FERC staff’s recommendations when the Commission makes a decision on the projects.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling