The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued favorable Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress projects proposed by Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission, respectively.

The Mountaineer XPress Project will feature a 265km long with 36 inch diameter natural gas pipeline from Marshall County to Cabell County in West Virginia. It will also have a 9.6km mile natural gas pipeline in Doddridge County, three new compressor stations and two new regulating stations along with other facilities.

On the other hand, the Gulf XPress Project will have seven new compressor stations in Kentucky and Mississippi. It will also feature upgrades to a compressor station and an existing meter station.

According to the FERC, the construction and operation of the two projects are bound to have some adverse and considerable impact on the environment.

However, the regulator says that the impacts can be brought down to acceptable levels if the projects are constructed and operated in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the mitigation measures specified in the EIS along with the recommendations from its staff.

FERC stated that Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf have committed to keep the impacts on natural and cultural resources at minimal levels during the construction and operation of their respective projects. This, they plan to do by placing the project-specific Environmental Construction Standards which incorporate various measures from the FERC.

Prior to allowing any construction activities related to the projects, the staff of FERC would carry out and conclude Endangered Species Act consultations with the US Fish and Wildlife Service among others.

Both Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf will have to secure applicable permits and offer mitigation for unavoidable impacts on waterbodies and wetlands by working closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers and applicable state agencies, said FERC.