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FERC Staff Issues EA on Cove Point, FEIS on Downeast

FERC on Thursday issued an environmental assessment (EA) on the Cove Point Liquefaction Project on the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, MD, and issued a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the Downeast LNG import project to be located  in Washington County, ME. In both cases, the projects were found by Commission staff to pose little harm if recommended mitigation measures are followed.

The Cove Point Liquefaction Project is sponsored by Dominion Cove Point LNG LP (DCP) [Docket No. CP13-113-000] (see Daily GPI, March 3). It would enable DCP to export 5.75 million metric tons per annum of LNG via marine carriers that would dock at an existing offshore pier. A draft general conformity determination has also been prepared by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff to assess the air quality impacts associated with the project and is included as an appendix of the EA.

Proposed Cove Point facilities associated with the LNG Terminal include one LNG liquefaction train consisting of gas treatment equipment, natural gas-fired turbine-driven refrigerant compressors, waste heat recovery systems, fire and gas detection and safety systems, and control systems; additional power generation; minor modifications to the existing pier; and the use of two off-site areas to support construction. The project would also include the addition of up to 62,500 hp of electric-driven compression at DCP's existing Pleasant Valley Compressor Station in Fairfax County, VA, and modifications to a metering and regulating facility at DCP's Loudoun Compressor Station in Loudoun County, VA.

"...[A]pproval of the proposed Project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment," FERC staff said. "Potential impacts would be reduced with the implementation of DCP's proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the 82 additional measures recommended in the EA." Comments on the EA are due at FERC by June 16.

Downeast is proposed by Downeast LNG Inc. and Downeast Pipeline LLC (collectively Downeast) [Docket Nos. CP07-52-000, CP07-53-000, CP07-53-001]. The import project has been in the works for quite some time, and its future in the shale gas era  is doubtful (see Daily GPI, March 5, 2012). Calls and emails by NGI to company representatives listed on the project's website were not returned Thursday.

The Downeast project would provide about 500 MMcf/d of imported natural gas to the New England region. Proposed facilities would be located in Washington County, ME, and include a new marine terminal intended to handle liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels ranging from 70,000 to 165,000 cubic meters in capacity; two full-containment LNG storage tanks; LNG vaporization and processing equipment; a 29.8-mile, 30-inch-diameter underground natural gas pipeline; and various other facilities.

FERC staff said in the Downeast FEIS that with mitigation measures, "...most impacts in the project area would be avoided or reduced to less than significant levels."

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