Issued January 23, 2015
The proposed Project facilities include the construction and operation of about 37.4 miles of pipeline in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, composed of the following facilities:
- replacement of 26.3 miles of existing pipeline with a 16- or 42-inch-diameter pipeline;
- extension of an existing loop1 pipeline with about 3.3 miles of additional 12- and 36-inch-diameter pipeline within Algonquin's existing right-of-way; and
- installation of about 7.8 miles of new 16-, 24-, and 42-inch-diameter pipeline.
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 (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1500–1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration cooperated in the preparation of the final EIS.
FERC's environmental staff concludes that construction and operation of the Project would result in some adverse environmental impacts. However, most of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Algonquin's proposed mitigation measures and plans and the additional measures recommended by the FERC staff in the draft EIS. Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:
- About 35 miles (93 percent) of the 37.4 miles of Project pipeline facilities would be within or adjacent to existing rights-of-way.
- The majority of the pipeline facilities (70 percent) would replace existing Algonquin pipelines within existing rights-of-way.
- Algonquin would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of the Project by implementing its Erosion and Sediment Control Plan; Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan; Unexpected Contamination Encounter Procedures; Invasive Plant Species Control Plan; Best Drilling Practices Plan; Compensatory Mitigation Plan; Traffic Management Plans for New York and the West Roxbury Lateral; Procedures Guiding the Discovery of Unanticipated Cultural Resources and Human Remains; and Fugitive Dust Control Plan.
- Algonquin would utilize the horizontal directional drill method to cross the Hudson and Still Rivers, which would avoid any direct impacts on these resources.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of issuing a letter of concurrent for the AIM Project, which would complete consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
- FERC staff would complete the process with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing the regulations at 36 CFR 800 prior to allowing any construction to begin.
- FERC staff would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorizations and other approvals during our oversight of an environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring program.