FERC has released a positive final environmental impact statement for the PennEast Pipeline Project.
According to the EIS, FERC staff concluded that while construction and operation of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, impacts would be lowered to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of proposed and recommended mitigation measures.
Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:
- About 44.5 miles (27.0 miles in Pennsylvania and 17.5 miles in New Jersey), or about 37 percent, of the 120.2-mile-long pipeline route (including laterals) would be constructed adjacent to existing rights-of-way
- PennEast would reduce impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of the Project by implementing FERC’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan (Plan) and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures (Procedures), its Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (E&SCP), and other Project-specific plans including; Unanticipated Discovery Plan, Fugitive Dust Control Plan, Agricultural Impact Minimization Plan, Karst Mitigation Plan, Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) Drilling Plan for Karst Terrain, HDD Inadvertent Returns and Contingency Plan, Hydrostatic Testing Alternative Water Source Plan, Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan, Unanticipated Discovery of Contamination Plan, Blasting Plan, Invasive Plant Species Control Plan, Well Monitoring Plan, Wetland Restoration Plan, Residential Access and Traffic Management Plan, Site-Specific Residential Construction Plans, Vibration Monitoring Plan, HDD Noise Mitigation Plan, Post-Construction Landslide Monitoring Plan, and Migratory Bird Conservation Plan
- FERC staff would complete the process of complying with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act prior to construction
- FERC staff would complete consultation under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800
- PennEast would comply with all applicable air and noise regulatory requirements during construction and operation of the project
- An environmental inspection program and a third-party monitoring oversight program would be implemented to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures that would become conditions of any FERC authorization
In addition, FERC staff has created project-specific mitigation measures that PennEast should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction and operation of the project.
The EIS was drafted in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1500–1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).
The process included the review of information provided by PennEast and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analysis; and contacts with federal, state, and local agencies as well as Indian tribes and individual members of the public.