FERC Staff Issues the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Regional Energy Access Expansion
The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Regional Energy Access Expansion (REAE Project) proposed by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco).
Transco requests authorization to construct, own, operate, and maintain pipelines, compression, and other aboveground facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland and to abandon certain compression facilities. The REAE Project would involve the construction and operation of 22.2 miles of 30-inch-diameter lateral pipeline and 13.8 miles of 42-inch-diameter loop pipeline in Pennsylvania; one new compressor station in New Jersey; modifications to five existing compressor stations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; modifications to existing pipeline tie-ins, valves, regulators, and meter and regulating stations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland; the addition of ancillary facilities such as regulation controls, valves, cathodic protection, communication facilities, and pig launchers and receivers in Pennsylvania; and abandonment of certain existing compression facilities.
The final EIS was prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA in 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500–1508 (40 CFR 1500-1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS. The EIS is intended to fulfill the cooperating federal agencies’ NEPA obligations, as applicable, and to support subsequent conclusions and decisions made by the cooperating agencies. Although cooperating agencies provide input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS, the agencies may present their own conclusions and recommendations in any applicable Records of Decision for the REAE Project.
As described in the final EIS, the Commission staff conclude that the construction and operation of the REAE 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). Although individual impacts associated with the construction of certain project components may be predominately borne by environmental justice communities, impacts on environmental justice communities from the REAE Project as a whole would not be disproportionately high and adverse. With the implementation of Transco’s impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures, as well as their adherence to Commission staff’s recommendations, the Commission staff conclude that the REAE 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 Commission will take into consideration the staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the REAE Project.