FERC staff prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Southern LNG Inc., Elba Express Company, LLC (EEC), and Southern Natural Gas Company's Elba III Project. The project includes expansion at the existing Elba Island Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminal near Savannah, Georgia; about 187 miles of new pipeline in Georgia and South Carolina; a new 10,000-horsepower compressor station in Georgia; and associated aboveground facilities.

FERC's environmental staff concludes that the Elba III Project with appropriate mitigating measures, as recommended, is unlikely to result in significant adverse environmental impact on particular resources within the Zones of Concern because it is unlikely that a substantial cargo release would occur during construction and operation.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service cooperated in the preparation of the final EIS.

Staff concludes the project would be an environmentally acceptable action (with appropriate mitigation) because:

  • The proposed LNG terminal facilities would be an expansion of an existing, fully-operating LNG import terminal with an established deep-water slip and established exclusion zones;
  • The proposed additional LNG vessel and associated escort vessels traffic would utilize an existing shipping corridor currently used by LNG vessels, as well as other deep-draft vessels;
  • Dredge spoil would be disposed of at one of two existing upland confined disposal facilities owned and operated by Southern LNG on the northwest end of Elba Island;
  • Safety features would be incorporated into the design and operation of the Terminal Expansion facilities and LNG vessels;
  • The proposed pipeline would parallel existing rights-of-way for approximately 56 percent of its length;
  • EEC would implement its project-specific Plan and Procedures to minimize construction impacts on soils, wetlands, and waterbodies;
  • The use of the horizontal directional drilling method for crossing the Broad and Savannah Rivers would avoid disturbances to the beds and banks of these waterbodies
  • The project would have no effect or would not be likely to adversely affect any federally- or state-listed threatened or endangered species;
  • The Coast Guard's preliminary finding that the waterway is suitable for increased LNG marine traffic (with conditions), the security provisions and operational controls that would be imposed by the local pilots, and the Coast Guard to direct the movement of LNG ships would maintain the risks of a marine LNG spill, either with or without ignition, at acceptable levels;
  • The environmental and engineering inspection and mitigation monitoring program for this project would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures and conditions of any FERC authorization;
  • The navigational controls and marine transit safety and security measures make the likelihood of a spill from LNG vessels extremely remote; and
  • All appropriate consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state historic preservation offices, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, if required, and any appropriate compliance actions resulting from these consultations would be completed before construction would be allowed to start in any given area.

FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations as presented in the final EIS when they make a decision on the project.

This page was last updated on May 19, 2020