Record of Decision and Floodplain Statement of Findings for the Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. Export Application, 69101-69104 [2014-27486]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 224 / Thursday, November 20, 2014 / Notices This notice announces an open meeting of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB). SEAB was reestablished pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92– 463, 86 Stat. 770) (the Act). This notice is provided in accordance with the Act. DATES: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 8:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. (MST). ADDRESSES: NREL Education Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO, 80401. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Gibson, Designated Federal Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585; telephone (202) 586–3787; or email at: seab@hq.doe.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background: The Board was established to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on the Department’s basic and applied research, economic and national security policy, educational issues, operational issues, and other activities as directed by the Secretary. Purpose of the Meeting: This meeting is the quarterly meeting of the Board. Tentative Agenda: The meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. on December 3rd. The tentative meeting agenda includes updates on the work of the SEAB task forces, briefings on topics of interest from the Lab and DOE, and comments from the public. The meeting will conclude at 12:15 p.m. Agenda updates will be posted on the SEAB Web site: www.energy.gov/seab. Public Participation: The meeting is open to the public. Individuals who would like to attend must RSVP to Karen Gibson no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at seab@hq.doe.gov. Please provide your name, organization, citizenship, and contact information. Anyone attending the meeting will be required to present government-issued identification. Individuals and representatives of organizations who would like to offer comments and suggestions may do so. Approximately 15 minutes will be reserved for public comments. Time allotted per speaker will depend on the number who wish to speak but will not exceed 3 minutes. The Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Those wishing to speak should register to do so beginning at 8:30 a.m. on December 3rd. Those not able to attend the meeting or who have insufficient time to address the committee are invited to send a written statement to Karen Gibson, U.S. rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:37 Nov 19, 2014 Jkt 235001 Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 20585, email to: seab@hq.doe.gov. Minutes: The minutes of the meeting will be available by contacting Ms. Gibson. She may be reached at the postal address or email address above, or by visiting SEAB’s Web site at www.energy.gov/seab. Issued in Washington, DC, on November 14, 2014. LaTanya R. Butler, Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–27487 Filed 11–19–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Record of Decision and Floodplain Statement of Findings for the Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. Export Application Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy. ACTION: Record of Decision. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces its decision in FE Docket Nos. 10–161–LNG and 11– 161–LNG to issue DOE/FE Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B, granting Freeport LNG Expansion L.P., FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC, and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC (collectively, FLEX) final long-term multi-contract authority to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) by vessel to nations with which the United States has not entered into a free trade agreement providing for national treatment for trade in natural gas (non-FTA countries). Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B are issued under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The proposed exports will originate from the existing Freeport Terminal, located on Quintana Island, southeast of the City of Freeport in Brazoria County, Texas, from liquefaction and related facilities to be constructed. DOE participated as a cooperating agency with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Liquefaction Project that, if constructed, will be used to support the export authorization sought from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE). ADDRESSES: The EIS and this Record of Decision (ROD) are available on DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Web site at http://energy.gov/ nepa/nepa-documents. Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B are available on DOE/FE’s Web site at http://energy.gov/ SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 69101 fe/downloads/listing-doefeauthorizations-issued-2014. For additional information about the dockets in these proceedings, contact Larine Moore, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities, Office of Fossil Energy, Room 3E–042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To obtain additional information about the project, the EIS, or the ROD, contact Mr. John Anderson, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities, Office of Fossil Energy, Room 3E–042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586– 5600; or Mr. Edward LeDuc, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Environment, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586–4007. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DOE prepared this ROD and Floodplain Statement of Findings pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] 4321, et seq.), and in compliance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations for NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] parts 1500 through 1508), DOE’s implementing procedures for NEPA (10 CFR Part 1021), and DOE’s ‘‘Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review Requirements’’ (10 CFR part 1022). Background On May 17, 2013, DOE/FE issued Order No. 3282 1 to Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, pursuant to section 3(a) of the NGA.2 DOE/FE subsequently amended Order No. 3282 to add FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC as applicants and authorizations holders, together with Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC (collectively, FLEX), and clarified the order in other respects.3 Order No. 3282, as amended, 1 Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, DOE/FE Order No. 3282, FE Docket No. 10–161–LNG, Order Conditionally Granting Long-Term Multi-Contract Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas by Vessel from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Nations (May 17, 2013). 2 15 U.S.C. 717b(a). This authority is delegated to the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy pursuant to Redelegation Order No. 00–002.04F (July 11, 2013). 3 On February 7, 2014, DOE/FE issued Order No. 3282–A, which added FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC as applicants and authorization holders. On June 6, 2014, DOE/FE E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM Continued 20NON1 69102 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 224 / Thursday, November 20, 2014 / Notices rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES conditionally granted FLEX’s Application 4 in FE Docket No. 10–161– LNG for long-term, multi-contract authority to export domestically produced LNG by vessel to non-FTA countries. DOE/FE conditionally authorized FLEX to export LNG in a volume equivalent to 511 billion cubic feet per year (Bcf/yr) of natural gas (1.4 Bcf per day (Bcf/d)), or approximately 9 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG, for a term of 20 years. On November 15, 2013, DOE/FE granted a second non-FTA conditional authorization to FLEX in DOE/FE Order No. 3357.5 Order No. 3357, as subsequently amended in Order No. 3357–A,6 conditionally authorized FLEX to export LNG in a volume equivalent to 146 Bcf/yr of natural gas (0.4 Bcf/d) for a 20-year term. Together with the 1.4 Bcf/d conditionally authorized in the first non-FTA order, FLEX’s total combined non-FTA export volume of 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas (657 Bcf/yr) mirrors the known liquefaction capacity of the Liquefaction Project. All of FLEX’s proposed exports will originate from the existing Freeport Terminal, located on Quintana Island, southeast of the City of Freeport in Brazoria County, Texas, and the liquefaction and related facilities to be constructed by FLEX, as described below. In June of 2004, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order authorizing Freeport LNG Development, L.P. to site, construct, and operate what is now known as Phase I of the Freeport Terminal. In September of 2006 FERC issued an order authorizing the Phase II expansion of the Freeport LNG Terminal, which included an expansion of the Freeport Terminal’s send-out capacity. In December of 2011, in FERC Docket No. CP12–29–000, FLEX filed with FERC an application requesting authorization to expand and modify its previously authorized import facilities to facilitate the import and export of LNG at the Freeport Terminal (the Phase II issued Order No. 3282–B, which further amended Order No. 3282 to clarify certain ordering paragraphs. 4 Application of Freeport LNG Expansion L.P., et al., for Long-Term Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries, FE Docket No. 10–161–LNG (Dec. 17, 2010). 5 Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. et al., DOE/FE Order No. 3357, FE Docket No. 11–161–LNG, Order Conditionally Granting Long-Term Multi-Contract Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas by Vessel from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Nations (Nov. 15, 2013). 6 On June 6, 2014, DOE/FE issued Order No. 3357–A, which amended Order No. 3357 to clarify the terms of that Order’s conditional authorization. VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:37 Nov 19, 2014 Jkt 235001 Modification Project). In August 2012, in FERC Docket No. CP12–509–000, FLEX filed an application with FERC to site, construct, and operate the Liquefaction Project at the Freeport Terminal under NGA section 3. FERC reviewed FLEX’s application for the Liquefaction Project in FERC Docket No. CP12–509–000 in conjunction with FLEX’s application for approval of the Phase II Modification Project in FERC Docket No. CP12–29–000. At the time that DOE/FE issued the above-referenced non-FTA conditional authorizations to FLEX, the matters in FERC Docket Nos. CP12–29–000 and CP12–509–000 were still pending. Accordingly, the non-FTA conditional authorizations addressed the record evidence in their respective dockets and entered findings on all nonenvironmental issues considered under NGA section 3(a), including the economic impacts, international impacts, and security of gas supply associated with FLEX’s proposed exports. Because DOE/FE must also consider environmental issues, DOE/FE conditioned its authorizations on the satisfactory completion of FLEX’s environmental review process under NEPA, and on DOE/FE’s issuance of a finding of no significant impact or a record of decision (ROD).7 Project Description The proposed facilities will be integrated into the existing Freeport Terminal, which presently consists of a marine berth, two 160,000 m3 full containment LNG storage tanks, LNG vaporization systems, associated utilities, and a 9.6-mile pipeline and meter station. The Phase II Modification Project calls for improvements to facilities previously authorized by FERC, including the re-orientation and modification of the Phase II marine berthing dock, modifying the LNG transfer pipelines between the second marine dock and LNG storage tanks (one of which is yet to be constructed but was approved with the authorization for the Phase II expansion), and the improvement of the current access road system, all contained within the previously authorized operational area of the Freeport Terminal. In addition, the Liquefaction Project consists of multiple components, including a Liquefaction Plant at and adjacent to the existing Quintana Island terminal and facilities located beyond Quintana Island. The Liquefaction Plant would consist of three propane precooled mixed refrigerant liquefaction 7 See DOE/FE Order No. 3282 at 123 (Ordering Para. F). PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 trains, each capable of producing a nominal 4.4 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG (13.2 mtpa total) for export, which equates to a total liquefaction capacity of approximately 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas. In support of the Liquefaction Plant, FLEX proposes to construct a natural gas Pretreatment Plant located about 2.5 miles north of the existing Quintana Island terminal. The Pretreatment Plant would process the gas for liquefaction. In addition, FLEX proposed to construct several interconnecting pipelines and utility lines including a 5.0-mile-long, 12-inch diameter boil-off gas (BOG) pipeline from the terminal to the Pretreatment Plant (referred together as the Pipeline/Utility LineSystem). The Liquefaction Plant, the Pretreatment Plant, and the Pipeline/Utility Line System, together with the associated appurtenant structures, are collectively referred to as the Liquefaction Project. The EIS Process In accordance with NEPA, FERC issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Liquefaction Project and Phase II Modification Project on March 14, 2014. (79 FR 15,989). The draft EIS was mailed to stakeholders, including landowners, the cooperating agencies, and those who previously made comments during the NEPA scoping process. Issues raised by commenters included concerns regarding: air pollution (including air toxics, greenhouse gases, deposition impacts; and compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards), safety and lack of an emergency response plan, construction traffic, noise and dust, lack of housing for construction workers, visual impacts, impacts on property values, water use and Freeport LNG’s source of water, land use impacts, ability to safely build the facility on dredge spoils, impacts on the historic Town of Quintana, expanding the scope of the cumulative impact analysis and alternatives analysis, recreational impacts, noxious odors, and the positive impacts from job creation. The final EIS, published on June 20, 2014 (79 FR 35,345), recommended that FERC approve FLEX’s proposed Liquefaction Project and Phase II Modification Project subject to 83 environmental conditions. On July 30, 2014, FERC issued its Order granting FLEX’s requested authorization to modify previously authorized LNG facilities to facilitate the import and export of LNG at FLEX’s Quintana Island terminal and granted authorization to site, construct, and operate the proposed facilities, subject E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM 20NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 224 / Thursday, November 20, 2014 / Notices to the 83 environmental conditions contained in Appendix A of that order.8 In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.3, after an independent review of FERC’s final EIS, DOE adopted the EIS on October 3, 2014 (DOE/EIS–0487), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a notice of that adoption in the Federal Register on October 10, 2014. (79 FR 61304). rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Addendum to Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports of Natural Gas From the United States (Addendum) On June 4, 2014, DOE/FE published the Draft Addendum for public comment (79 FR 32258). Although not required by NEPA, DOE/FE prepared the Addendum in an effort to be responsive to the public and to provide the best information available on a subject that had been raised by commenters. The Addendum is a review of existing literature and was intended to provide information only on the resource areas potentially impacted by unconventional gas production. The 45-day comment period on the Draft Addendum closed on July 21, 2014. DOE/FE received 40,745 comments in 18 separate submissions, and considered those comments in issuing the Addendum on August 15, 2014. DOE provided a summary of the comments received and responses to substantive comments in Appendix B of the Addendum. DOE/FE has incorporated the Draft Addendum, comments, and final Addendum into the record in its FLEX proceeding. Alternatives The EIS conducted an alternatives analysis for the Liquefaction Project and found no other practicable alternative that would result in less environmental impact that would still address the purpose and need of the Projects. Alternatives considered included the No Action Alternative, system alternatives, and site alternatives. With respect to the No Action Alternative, the EIS concluded that this alternative is not viable as FLEX would not be able to provide U.S. natural gas producers with new access to global gas suppliers and meet contractual obligations. For the Phase II Modification Project, the EIS determined that the location, design, and purpose is wholly dependent on the existing plant facilities and operations at the Quintana Island terminal; therefore, other geographically separate sites beyond the 8 Freeport LNG Development, L.P., et al., Order Granting Authorization Under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, 148 FERC ¶ 61,076 (July 30, 2014) [FERC Order]. VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:37 Nov 19, 2014 Jkt 235001 terminal were not evaluated and no system alternatives exist that could achieve the terminal’s operational flexibility and capabilities With respect to system alternatives for the Liquefaction Project, the EIS analyzed other proposed LNG export facilities on the West Coast, Gulf Coast, and East Coast of the United States and whether these could be considered system alternatives. In all cases the EIS found that these alternatives would not address the Liquefaction Project’s purpose and would not offer any significant environmental advantage. The EIS also considered the possibility of expanding the size of another proposed LNG export terminal to address FLEX’s desired export capacity. However, this alternative would involve further impacts such as: construction of additional liquefaction infrastructure plus the potential need for expanded docking facilities. Hence, the environmental impacts would not be significantly different than those that would occur as a result of the Liquefaction Project. Additionally, the EIS evaluated site alternatives for the components of the Liquefaction Project, but did not find any viable alternatives. Siting of the Liquefaction Plant was dictated by the need to be close to the existing offloading areas, LNG storage tanks, docking area, and other existing LNG infrastructure at the Quintana Island terminal. Moreover, the proposed siting makes maximum use of the available areas within the existing Quintana Island terminal. The EIS evaluated the feasibility of lowering the pad elevation of the Liquefaction Plant to determine whether this would lessen impacts on visibility, noise, safety, stormwater, and site engineering. However, the EIS determined that this would not provide substantial improvements in visibility and noise attenuation, and would result in significant geological safety, engineering, traffic and soil disposal issues. With respect to the siting of the Pretreatment Plant, the EIS assessed ten alternative sites, all of which were deemed unsuitable due to site constraints and environmental impacts, except for one site. However, based on comments from residents regarding the lack of a suitable evacuation route in case of emergency at the alternative site, and concerns about noise, air emissions, water discharges, materials storage, and flood protection, the EIS concludes that the proposed site is the preferred site. With respect to siting of the Pipeline/ Utility Line System, the main alternative siting criteria were the functional interdependency and PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 69103 geographic locations of the proposed process facilities (Liquefaction Plant and Pretreatment Plant), FLEX’s existing natural gas sendout pipeline, and the existing sendout pipeline meter station at Stratton Ridge. The Liquefaction Plant, Pretreatment Plant, and Stratton Ridge Meter Station represent fixed receipt or delivery points for the natural gas transported by the sendout pipeline and utilized in the liquefaction process. The existing sendout pipeline route constitutes the preferred route as it follows an existing right-of-way and minimizes environmental impacts. Environmentally Preferred Alternative When compared against the other action alternatives assessed in the EIS, as discussed above, the Liquefaction Project/Phase II Modification Project is the environmentally preferred alternative. While the No-Action Alternative would avoid the environmental impacts identified in the EIS, adoption of this alternative would not meet the project objectives. Decision DOE has decided to issue Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B authorizing FLEX to export domestically produced LNG by vessel from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to non-FTA countries up to the equivalent of 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas for a term of 20 years. Concurrently with this Record of Decision, DOE is issuing Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B in which it finds that the granting of the requested authorizations have not been shown to be inconsistent with the public interest, and that the applications should be granted subject to compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B, including the environmental conditions adopted in the FERC Order at Appendix A. Additionally, the authorizations are conditioned on FLEX’s compliance with any other preventative and mitigative measures imposed by other Federal or state agencies. Basis of Decision DOE’s decision is based upon the analysis of potential environmental impacts presented in the EIS, and DOE’s determination in Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B that the opponents of the applications have failed to overcome the statutory presumption that the proposed export authorizations are not inconsistent with the public interest. Although not required by NEPA, DOE also considered the Addendum, which summarizes available information on potential upstream impacts associated E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM 20NON1 69104 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 224 / Thursday, November 20, 2014 / Notices with unconventional natural gas activities, such as hydraulic fracturing. Mitigation As a condition of its decision to issue Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B authorizing FLEX to export LNG to nonFTA countries, DOE is imposing requirements that will avoid or minimize the environmental impacts of the project. These conditions include the environmental conditions adopted in the FERC Order at Appendix A. Mitigation measures beyond those included in DOE Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B that are enforceable by other Federal and state agencies are additional conditions of Order Nos. 3282–C and 3357–B. With these conditions, DOE has determined that all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the project have been adopted. Floodplain Statement of Findings DOE prepared this Floodplain Statement of Findings in accordance with DOE’s regulations entitled ‘‘Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review Requirements’’ (10 CFR part 1022). The required floodplain and wetland assessment was conducted during development and preparation of the EIS (see Sections 4.1.1.3 and 4.3.1.1 of the EIS). DOE determined that the placement of some project components within floodplains would be unavoidable. However, the current design for the project minimizes floodplain impacts to the extent practicable. Issued in Washington, DC on November 14, 2014. Christopher A. Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Fossil Energy. [FR Doc. 2014–27486 Filed 11–19–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES [FRL–9919–54–OAR] California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; Malfunction and Diagnostic System Requirements for 2010 and Subsequent Model Year Heavy-Duty Engines; Request for Waiver Determination; Opportunity for Public Hearing and Comment Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public hearing and comment. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:37 Nov 19, 2014 Jkt 235001 The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has notified EPA that it has adopted amendments to its ‘‘Malfunction and Diagnostic System Requirements for 2010 and Subsequent Model Year Heavy-Duty Engines’’ regulation (HD OBD Requirements) and its ‘‘Enforcement of Malfunction and Diagnostic System Requirements for 2010 and Subsequent Model-Year Heavy-Duty Engines’’ regulation (HD OBD Enforcement Regulation), collectively referred to herein as HD OBD Regulations. EPA previously granted California a waiver for its HD OBD Regulations as amended in 2010. CARB adopted further amendments to the HD OBD Regulations in 2013 (‘‘2013 HD OBD amendments’’). By letter dated February 12, 2014, CARB requested that EPA confirm that the 2013 HD OBD amendments are within the scope of the previously granted waiver or, alternatively, that EPA grant a full waiver of preemption for the amendments. This notice announces that EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing to consider California’s request for waiver of the 2013 HD OBD amendments, and that EPA is additionally now accepting written comment on California’s request. DATES: EPA has tentatively scheduled a public hearing concerning CARB’s request on January 14, 2015 at 10 a.m. ET. EPA will hold a hearing only if any party notifies EPA by December 15, 2014 to express interest in presenting the Agency with oral testimony. Parties that wish to present oral testimony at the public hearing should provide written notice to David Read at the email address noted below. If EPA receives a request for a public hearing, that hearing will be held at the William Jefferson Clinton Building (North), Room 5530 at 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. If EPA does not receive a request for a public hearing, then EPA will not hold a hearing, and will instead consider CARB’s request based on written submissions to the docket. Any party may submit written comments until February 16, 2015. Any person who wishes to know whether a hearing will be held may call David Read at (734) 214–4367 on or after December 17, 2014. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2014–0699, by one of the following methods: • On-Line at http:// www.regulations.gov: Follow the OnLine Instructions for Submitting Comments. • Email: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Fax: (202) 566–1741. • Mail: Air and Radiation Docket, Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2014– 0699, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include a total of two copies. • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, Public Reading Room, EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. On-Line Instructions for Submitting Comments: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2014– 0699. EPA’s policy is that all comments we receive will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http:// www.regulations.gov or email. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through http:// www.regulations.gov, your email address will automatically be captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD–ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA’s public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http:// www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm. EPA will make available for public inspection materials submitted by CARB, written comments received from any interested parties, and any testimony given at the public hearing. Materials relevant to this proceeding are contained in the Air and Radiation E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM 20NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 224 (Thursday, November 20, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 69101-69104]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27486]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Record of Decision and Floodplain Statement of Findings for the 
Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. Export Application

AGENCY: Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Record of Decision.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces its decision in 
FE Docket Nos. 10-161-LNG and 11-161-LNG to issue DOE/FE Order Nos. 
3282-C and 3357-B, granting Freeport LNG Expansion L.P., FLNG 
Liquefaction, LLC, FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC, and FLNG Liquefaction 3, 
LLC (collectively, FLEX) final long-term multi-contract authority to 
export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) by vessel to 
nations with which the United States has not entered into a free trade 
agreement providing for national treatment for trade in natural gas 
(non-FTA countries). Order Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B are issued under 
section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The proposed exports will 
originate from the existing Freeport Terminal, located on Quintana 
Island, southeast of the City of Freeport in Brazoria County, Texas, 
from liquefaction and related facilities to be constructed. DOE 
participated as a cooperating agency with the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission (FERC) in preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) 
analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the proposed 
Liquefaction Project that, if constructed, will be used to support the 
export authorization sought from DOE's Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/
FE).

ADDRESSES: The EIS and this Record of Decision (ROD) are available on 
DOE's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Web site at http://energy.gov/nepa/nepa-documents. Order Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B are 
available on DOE/FE's Web site at http://energy.gov/fe/downloads/listing-doefe-authorizations-issued-2014. For additional information 
about the dockets in these proceedings, contact Larine Moore, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities, 
Office of Fossil Energy, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20585.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To obtain additional information about 
the project, the EIS, or the ROD, contact Mr. John Anderson, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities, 
Office of Fossil Energy, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-5600; or Mr. Edward LeDuc, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Office of the Assistant General Counsel for 
Environment, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 
586-4007.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DOE prepared this ROD and Floodplain 
Statement of Findings pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969 (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] 4321, et seq.), and in 
compliance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing 
regulations for NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] parts 1500 
through 1508), DOE's implementing procedures for NEPA (10 CFR Part 
1021), and DOE's ``Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental 
Review Requirements'' (10 CFR part 1022).

Background

    On May 17, 2013, DOE/FE issued Order No. 3282 \1\ to Freeport LNG 
Expansion L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, pursuant to section 3(a) of 
the NGA.\2\ DOE/FE subsequently amended Order No. 3282 to add FLNG 
Liquefaction 2, LLC and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC as applicants and 
authorizations holders, together with Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. and 
FLNG Liquefaction, LLC (collectively, FLEX), and clarified the order in 
other respects.\3\ Order No. 3282, as amended,

[[Page 69102]]

conditionally granted FLEX's Application \4\ in FE Docket No. 10-161-
LNG for long-term, multi-contract authority to export domestically 
produced LNG by vessel to non-FTA countries. DOE/FE conditionally 
authorized FLEX to export LNG in a volume equivalent to 511 billion 
cubic feet per year (Bcf/yr) of natural gas (1.4 Bcf per day (Bcf/d)), 
or approximately 9 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG, for a 
term of 20 years.
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    \1\ Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC, DOE/
FE Order No. 3282, FE Docket No. 10-161-LNG, Order Conditionally 
Granting Long-Term Multi-Contract Authorization to Export Liquefied 
Natural Gas by Vessel from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana 
Island, Texas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Nations (May 17, 2013).
    \2\ 15 U.S.C. 717b(a). This authority is delegated to the 
Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy pursuant to Redelegation Order 
No. 00-002.04F (July 11, 2013).
    \3\ On February 7, 2014, DOE/FE issued Order No. 3282-A, which 
added FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC as 
applicants and authorization holders. On June 6, 2014, DOE/FE issued 
Order No. 3282-B, which further amended Order No. 3282 to clarify 
certain ordering paragraphs.
    \4\ Application of Freeport LNG Expansion L.P., et al., for 
Long-Term Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free 
Trade Agreement Countries, FE Docket No. 10-161-LNG (Dec. 17, 2010).
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    On November 15, 2013, DOE/FE granted a second non-FTA conditional 
authorization to FLEX in DOE/FE Order No. 3357.\5\ Order No. 3357, as 
subsequently amended in Order No. 3357-A,\6\ conditionally authorized 
FLEX to export LNG in a volume equivalent to 146 Bcf/yr of natural gas 
(0.4 Bcf/d) for a 20-year term. Together with the 1.4 Bcf/d 
conditionally authorized in the first non-FTA order, FLEX's total 
combined non-FTA export volume of 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas (657 Bcf/yr) 
mirrors the known liquefaction capacity of the Liquefaction Project. 
All of FLEX's proposed exports will originate from the existing 
Freeport Terminal, located on Quintana Island, southeast of the City of 
Freeport in Brazoria County, Texas, and the liquefaction and related 
facilities to be constructed by FLEX, as described below.
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    \5\ Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. et al., DOE/FE Order No. 3357, 
FE Docket No. 11-161-LNG, Order Conditionally Granting Long-Term 
Multi-Contract Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas by 
Vessel from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to 
Non-Free Trade Agreement Nations (Nov. 15, 2013).
    \6\ On June 6, 2014, DOE/FE issued Order No. 3357-A, which 
amended Order No. 3357 to clarify the terms of that Order's 
conditional authorization.
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    In June of 2004, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 
issued an order authorizing Freeport LNG Development, L.P. to site, 
construct, and operate what is now known as Phase I of the Freeport 
Terminal. In September of 2006 FERC issued an order authorizing the 
Phase II expansion of the Freeport LNG Terminal, which included an 
expansion of the Freeport Terminal's send-out capacity. In December of 
2011, in FERC Docket No. CP12-29-000, FLEX filed with FERC an 
application requesting authorization to expand and modify its 
previously authorized import facilities to facilitate the import and 
export of LNG at the Freeport Terminal (the Phase II Modification 
Project). In August 2012, in FERC Docket No. CP12-509-000, FLEX filed 
an application with FERC to site, construct, and operate the 
Liquefaction Project at the Freeport Terminal under NGA section 3. FERC 
reviewed FLEX's application for the Liquefaction Project in FERC Docket 
No. CP12-509-000 in conjunction with FLEX's application for approval of 
the Phase II Modification Project in FERC Docket No. CP12-29-000.
    At the time that DOE/FE issued the above-referenced non-FTA 
conditional authorizations to FLEX, the matters in FERC Docket Nos. 
CP12-29-000 and CP12-509-000 were still pending. Accordingly, the non-
FTA conditional authorizations addressed the record evidence in their 
respective dockets and entered findings on all non-environmental issues 
considered under NGA section 3(a), including the economic impacts, 
international impacts, and security of gas supply associated with 
FLEX's proposed exports. Because DOE/FE must also consider 
environmental issues, DOE/FE conditioned its authorizations on the 
satisfactory completion of FLEX's environmental review process under 
NEPA, and on DOE/FE's issuance of a finding of no significant impact or 
a record of decision (ROD).\7\
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    \7\ See DOE/FE Order No. 3282 at 123 (Ordering Para. F).
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Project Description

    The proposed facilities will be integrated into the existing 
Freeport Terminal, which presently consists of a marine berth, two 
160,000 m\3\ full containment LNG storage tanks, LNG vaporization 
systems, associated utilities, and a 9.6-mile pipeline and meter 
station. The Phase II Modification Project calls for improvements to 
facilities previously authorized by FERC, including the re-orientation 
and modification of the Phase II marine berthing dock, modifying the 
LNG transfer pipelines between the second marine dock and LNG storage 
tanks (one of which is yet to be constructed but was approved with the 
authorization for the Phase II expansion), and the improvement of the 
current access road system, all contained within the previously 
authorized operational area of the Freeport Terminal.
    In addition, the Liquefaction Project consists of multiple 
components, including a Liquefaction Plant at and adjacent to the 
existing Quintana Island terminal and facilities located beyond 
Quintana Island. The Liquefaction Plant would consist of three propane 
pre-cooled mixed refrigerant liquefaction trains, each capable of 
producing a nominal 4.4 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG 
(13.2 mtpa total) for export, which equates to a total liquefaction 
capacity of approximately 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas.
    In support of the Liquefaction Plant, FLEX proposes to construct a 
natural gas Pretreatment Plant located about 2.5 miles north of the 
existing Quintana Island terminal. The Pretreatment Plant would process 
the gas for liquefaction. In addition, FLEX proposed to construct 
several interconnecting pipelines and utility lines including a 5.0-
mile-long, 12-inch diameter boil-off gas (BOG) pipeline from the 
terminal to the Pretreatment Plant (referred together as the Pipeline/
Utility LineSystem). The Liquefaction Plant, the Pretreatment Plant, 
and the Pipeline/Utility Line System, together with the associated 
appurtenant structures, are collectively referred to as the 
Liquefaction Project.

The EIS Process

    In accordance with NEPA, FERC issued a draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) for the proposed Liquefaction Project and Phase II 
Modification Project on March 14, 2014. (79 FR 15,989). The draft EIS 
was mailed to stakeholders, including landowners, the cooperating 
agencies, and those who previously made comments during the NEPA 
scoping process. Issues raised by commenters included concerns 
regarding: air pollution (including air toxics, greenhouse gases, 
deposition impacts; and compliance with the National Ambient Air 
Quality Standards), safety and lack of an emergency response plan, 
construction traffic, noise and dust, lack of housing for construction 
workers, visual impacts, impacts on property values, water use and 
Freeport LNG's source of water, land use impacts, ability to safely 
build the facility on dredge spoils, impacts on the historic Town of 
Quintana, expanding the scope of the cumulative impact analysis and 
alternatives analysis, recreational impacts, noxious odors, and the 
positive impacts from job creation.
    The final EIS, published on June 20, 2014 (79 FR 35,345), 
recommended that FERC approve FLEX's proposed Liquefaction Project and 
Phase II Modification Project subject to 83 environmental conditions. 
On July 30, 2014, FERC issued its Order granting FLEX's requested 
authorization to modify previously authorized LNG facilities to 
facilitate the import and export of LNG at FLEX's Quintana Island 
terminal and granted authorization to site, construct, and operate the 
proposed facilities, subject

[[Page 69103]]

to the 83 environmental conditions contained in Appendix A of that 
order.\8\
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    \8\ Freeport LNG Development, L.P., et al., Order Granting 
Authorization Under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, 148 FERC ] 
61,076 (July 30, 2014) [FERC Order].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.3, after an independent review of 
FERC's final EIS, DOE adopted the EIS on October 3, 2014 (DOE/EIS-
0487), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a notice 
of that adoption in the Federal Register on October 10, 2014. (79 FR 
61304).

Addendum to Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports of 
Natural Gas From the United States (Addendum)

    On June 4, 2014, DOE/FE published the Draft Addendum for public 
comment (79 FR 32258). Although not required by NEPA, DOE/FE prepared 
the Addendum in an effort to be responsive to the public and to provide 
the best information available on a subject that had been raised by 
commenters. The Addendum is a review of existing literature and was 
intended to provide information only on the resource areas potentially 
impacted by unconventional gas production.
    The 45-day comment period on the Draft Addendum closed on July 21, 
2014. DOE/FE received 40,745 comments in 18 separate submissions, and 
considered those comments in issuing the Addendum on August 15, 2014. 
DOE provided a summary of the comments received and responses to 
substantive comments in Appendix B of the Addendum. DOE/FE has 
incorporated the Draft Addendum, comments, and final Addendum into the 
record in its FLEX proceeding.

Alternatives

    The EIS conducted an alternatives analysis for the Liquefaction 
Project and found no other practicable alternative that would result in 
less environmental impact that would still address the purpose and need 
of the Projects. Alternatives considered included the No Action 
Alternative, system alternatives, and site alternatives. With respect 
to the No Action Alternative, the EIS concluded that this alternative 
is not viable as FLEX would not be able to provide U.S. natural gas 
producers with new access to global gas suppliers and meet contractual 
obligations.
    For the Phase II Modification Project, the EIS determined that the 
location, design, and purpose is wholly dependent on the existing plant 
facilities and operations at the Quintana Island terminal; therefore, 
other geographically separate sites beyond the terminal were not 
evaluated and no system alternatives exist that could achieve the 
terminal's operational flexibility and capabilities
    With respect to system alternatives for the Liquefaction Project, 
the EIS analyzed other proposed LNG export facilities on the West 
Coast, Gulf Coast, and East Coast of the United States and whether 
these could be considered system alternatives. In all cases the EIS 
found that these alternatives would not address the Liquefaction 
Project's purpose and would not offer any significant environmental 
advantage.
    The EIS also considered the possibility of expanding the size of 
another proposed LNG export terminal to address FLEX's desired export 
capacity. However, this alternative would involve further impacts such 
as: construction of additional liquefaction infrastructure plus the 
potential need for expanded docking facilities. Hence, the 
environmental impacts would not be significantly different than those 
that would occur as a result of the Liquefaction Project.
    Additionally, the EIS evaluated site alternatives for the 
components of the Liquefaction Project, but did not find any viable 
alternatives. Siting of the Liquefaction Plant was dictated by the need 
to be close to the existing offloading areas, LNG storage tanks, 
docking area, and other existing LNG infrastructure at the Quintana 
Island terminal. Moreover, the proposed siting makes maximum use of the 
available areas within the existing Quintana Island terminal.
    The EIS evaluated the feasibility of lowering the pad elevation of 
the Liquefaction Plant to determine whether this would lessen impacts 
on visibility, noise, safety, stormwater, and site engineering. 
However, the EIS determined that this would not provide substantial 
improvements in visibility and noise attenuation, and would result in 
significant geological safety, engineering, traffic and soil disposal 
issues. With respect to the siting of the Pretreatment Plant, the EIS 
assessed ten alternative sites, all of which were deemed unsuitable due 
to site constraints and environmental impacts, except for one site. 
However, based on comments from residents regarding the lack of a 
suitable evacuation route in case of emergency at the alternative site, 
and concerns about noise, air emissions, water discharges, materials 
storage, and flood protection, the EIS concludes that the proposed site 
is the preferred site.
    With respect to siting of the Pipeline/Utility Line System, the 
main alternative siting criteria were the functional interdependency 
and geographic locations of the proposed process facilities 
(Liquefaction Plant and Pretreatment Plant), FLEX's existing natural 
gas sendout pipeline, and the existing sendout pipeline meter station 
at Stratton Ridge. The Liquefaction Plant, Pretreatment Plant, and 
Stratton Ridge Meter Station represent fixed receipt or delivery points 
for the natural gas transported by the sendout pipeline and utilized in 
the liquefaction process. The existing sendout pipeline route 
constitutes the preferred route as it follows an existing right-of-way 
and minimizes environmental impacts.

Environmentally Preferred Alternative

    When compared against the other action alternatives assessed in the 
EIS, as discussed above, the Liquefaction Project/Phase II Modification 
Project is the environmentally preferred alternative. While the No-
Action Alternative would avoid the environmental impacts identified in 
the EIS, adoption of this alternative would not meet the project 
objectives.

Decision

    DOE has decided to issue Order Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B authorizing 
FLEX to export domestically produced LNG by vessel from the Freeport 
LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas to non-FTA countries up to the 
equivalent of 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas for a term of 20 years.
    Concurrently with this Record of Decision, DOE is issuing Order 
Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B in which it finds that the granting of the 
requested authorizations have not been shown to be inconsistent with 
the public interest, and that the applications should be granted 
subject to compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in Order 
Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B, including the environmental conditions adopted 
in the FERC Order at Appendix A. Additionally, the authorizations are 
conditioned on FLEX's compliance with any other preventative and 
mitigative measures imposed by other Federal or state agencies.

Basis of Decision

    DOE's decision is based upon the analysis of potential 
environmental impacts presented in the EIS, and DOE's determination in 
Order Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B that the opponents of the applications 
have failed to overcome the statutory presumption that the proposed 
export authorizations are not inconsistent with the public interest. 
Although not required by NEPA, DOE also considered the Addendum, which 
summarizes available information on potential upstream impacts 
associated

[[Page 69104]]

with unconventional natural gas activities, such as hydraulic 
fracturing.

Mitigation

    As a condition of its decision to issue Order Nos. 3282-C and 3357-
B authorizing FLEX to export LNG to non-FTA countries, DOE is imposing 
requirements that will avoid or minimize the environmental impacts of 
the project. These conditions include the environmental conditions 
adopted in the FERC Order at Appendix A. Mitigation measures beyond 
those included in DOE Order Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B that are enforceable 
by other Federal and state agencies are additional conditions of Order 
Nos. 3282-C and 3357-B. With these conditions, DOE has determined that 
all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the 
project have been adopted.

Floodplain Statement of Findings

    DOE prepared this Floodplain Statement of Findings in accordance 
with DOE's regulations entitled ``Compliance with Floodplain and 
Wetland Environmental Review Requirements'' (10 CFR part 1022). The 
required floodplain and wetland assessment was conducted during 
development and preparation of the EIS (see Sections 4.1.1.3 and 
4.3.1.1 of the EIS). DOE determined that the placement of some project 
components within floodplains would be unavoidable.
    However, the current design for the project minimizes floodplain 
impacts to the extent practicable.

    Issued in Washington, DC on November 14, 2014.
Christopher A. Smith,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Fossil Energy.
[FR Doc. 2014-27486 Filed 11-19-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P