The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Equitrans LP’s (Equitrans) Ohio Valley Connector Expansion Project (Project).
Equitrans proposes to acquire and operate the existing non-jurisdictional Cygrymus Compressor Station and install two new turbines in Greene County, Pennsylvania. In addition, Equitrans would install one additional compressor unit each at the existing Corona Compressor Station in Wetzel County, West Virginia and at the existing Plasma Compressor Station in Monroe County, Ohio. Equitrans would also construct approximately 5.5 miles of pipeline in various segments and ancillary facilities in Greene County, Pennsylvania and Wetzel County, West Virginia. As proposed, the Project would provide approximately 350,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas to mid-continent and Gulf Coast markets, create new transportation paths, and provide long-term reliability.
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 (Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations [40 CFR] Parts 1500–1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR Part 380). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (COE) Huntington District participated as a cooperating agency. The EIS is intended to fulfill the COE’s NEPA obligations, as applicable, and to support subsequent conclusions and decisions made by the cooperating agency. Although the cooperating agency provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS, the COE will present its own conclusions and recommendations in its respective Record of Decision for the Project.
The FERC staff concludes that most adverse environmental impacts would be temporary or short-term during construction and would have minimal effects on existing land use, as the proposed facilities would be added within an area already characterized by energy production and transmission facilities. The approval of the Project, with the mitigation measures recommended in the EIS, would not result in significant adverse impacts. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Equitrans and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and contacts with the federal, state, and local agencies, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders. To ensure impacts on the environment are avoided, reduced, and minimized to the extent practical, staff recommends that these measures be attached as conditions to any authorization issued by the Commission. These recommendations are identified in sections 4 and 5 of the EIS. Therefore, with the exception of climate change impacts that are not characterized in this EIS as significant or insignificant, staff concludes that Project impacts on the environment would not be significant.
The Commission will take into consideration staff’s recommendations in the EIS when it makes a decision on the Project.