The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Ruby Pipeline Project, FERC announced Friday.
The project facilities would be located in various counties in Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Oregon.
The project would consist of the construction and operation of approximately 677.8 miles of natural gas pipeline and a total of 160,500 horsepower of new compression. Following construction of the proposed facilities, the Ruby Pipeline Project would be able to transport up to 1.5 million dekatherms per day of natural gas.
The draft EIS was prepared to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Management and Policy Act.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, State of Utah Public Lands Policy Coordination Office, and the Board of County Commissioners in Lincoln County, Wyoming are participating as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.
The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the Ruby Pipeline Project would result in some adverse environmental impacts. However, most of these would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Ruby's proposed mitigation measures; additional measures and agreements being discussed by Ruby and other agencies related to permitting or conservation agreements; and the additional measures recommended by staff in the EIS. The primary reasons for our decision are:
- More than 30 percent of the project would be collocated with or closely parallel existing rights-of-way;
- The project would be consistent with or in conformance with federal resource management plans, once amended;
- Ruby would obtain all necessary federal, state, and local permits, approvals, and authorizations prior to commencement of construction;
- Ruby would design, construct, test, and operate its pipeline in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations;
- Ruby would implement resource- or activity-specific plans, procedures, and agreements (both those generated proactively by Ruby and those required specifically by federal, state, or local agencies) to protect natural resources, avoid or limit environmental impacts, and promote restoration of all disturbed areas during construction and operation of the project; and
- Ruby would complete necessary surveys for sensitive species and cultural resources; would prepare survey reports summarizing the findings, as necessary; and agencies would be given opportunity to comment, as necessary, before Ruby would be authorized to begin construction.
Comments on the draft EIS must be received in Washington, DC on or before August 10, 2009. The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff's recommendations and the final EIS when they make a decision on the proposed project.