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Environment and Energy:

Photo of pipeline

Branch of Conservation Planning Assistance has the important responsibilities for environmental oversight for our Nation’s energy sources including wind and hydropower production, and pipeline rights-of-way. The Branch of Advanced Planning and Habitat Conservation Increased interest in renewable energy sources have resulted in the rapid expansion of the wind industry in the United States. Wind turbines of today and the farms that contain them provide a clean air alternative for energy in the US. With this clean-air energy comes great concern of turbine impacts (and wind farms) to migratory birds, bats, and other wildlife. Hydropower is the Nation's leading renewable energy Resource. Branch of Conservation Planning Assistance is responsible for environmental reviews of Federal hydropower activities and for ensuring that all hydropower facilities operate with appropriate fish-passage and other environmental protection. Pipelines transport a variety of substances from one location to another without the dependency on trucks or highways. Some pipeline rights-of-way alter the natural habitat causing fragmentation and dislocating wildlife.

To find out more about our environment and energy visit:

The Fish and Wildlife Service and Wind Power Development at:

The Fish and Wildlife Service and Hydropower Licensing at:

The Fish and Wildlife Service and Oil and Gas Projects at:

Oil and Gas Projects and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Conservation Planning Assistance coordinate with other Federal agencies on memorandum of understandings regarding a variety of pipeline projects that may potentially affect our natural resources. Recent and currently ongoing activities include the Bureau of Land Management’s Pilot Project, Westwide Energy Corridor, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline Safety Act MOU and Pipeline Repair Permit Streamlining, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Interagency Agreement on Early Coordination of Environmental Review of Natural Gas Pipelines.

Bureau of Land Management, Pilot Project

In accordance with section 365 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) the BLM along with the Service, EPA, and Army Corps of Engineers signed an MOU in October 2005 agreeing to temporary relocate employees and improve the BLM oil and gas leasing permit process on BLM land.

Westwide Energy Corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

The Department of Energy (DOE) in accordance with section 368 of EPAct 2005 must submit to Congress by August 2007 a report on energy corridors in eleven western states. The PEIS must be on Federal land and must include utility corridor width and centerline. Check out the DOE’s website for more information on this project: http://corridoreis.anl.gov/

Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety, Pipeline Repair Permit Streamlining

The Service has been working with The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) over the previous 4 years to develop a process for providing expedited resource conservation measures including section 7 of the Endangered Species Act consultation on the Nation’s approximately 200,000 miles of energy pipeline infrastructure in accordance with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (PSIA MOU).

As a result of the ongoing work with the OPS, we have been developing the Web-based Integrated Planning and Consultation System (WIPCS). This system will be a tool for action agencies and their applicants to use during the initial phases of project development and assessment. The database will serve as the primary tool for streamlining planning and environmental review for all of the involved parties. It will allow for more effective integration of land-based conservation functions including such features as wetlands, listed species, coastal zones, etc. It will also have an internal function for the Service that allows field biologists to obtain resource, project, and conservation related information for different areas where they may be evaluating activities.

For more information on OPS, see their website: http://ops.dot.gov/

FERC, Natural Gas Regulation

Responsibilities of the Service to FERC for natural gas projects are substantially different than the Service’s hydropower responsibilities.

The natural gas filing process begins before and application is filed at FERC. Typically, the applicant contacts the Service regarding federally listed endangered or threatened species. The applicant may also request wetland information from the National Wetland Inventory at that time. Based on the specific construction path of the natural gas pipeline project, federally listed species may be avoided. The applicant will conduct the necessary studies in order to validate and identify which species occur within the project boundaries. The applicant submits study results as part of its application to FERC. FERC reviews this information in accordance with its responsibilities to NEPA, ESA, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act among others. Upon completion of the NEPA document and conclusion of ESA consultation (when necessary), FERC will issue a certificate. The project may proceed once the applicant has received the remaining permits from local and state agencies in accordance with conditions of the FERC certificate.

More FERC information is available at their website http://www.ferc.gov/ .

FERC and the Interagency Agreement on Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Construction

In May 2002, the Department of the Interior joined several other Federal agencies in signing an interagency agreement ( AInteragency Agreement on Early Coordination of Required Environmental and Historic Preservation Reviews Conducted in Conjunction with the Issuance of Authorizations to Construct and Operate Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines Certificated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission @) regarding early coordination of environmental reviews associated with authorizations to construct and operate interstate natural gas pipelines certificated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is involved in the review of natural gas pipelines through the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Endangered Species Act, and Clean Water Act, when appropriate. The Service supports and encourages early project planning participation in natural gas pipeline project reviews to the greatest extent possible.

For more information about the Branch of Conservation Planning Assistance, contact the Division of Habitat and Resource Conservation at 703/358-2183, or visit our web site at http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation.


MOU - Pipeline Safety Improvement Act 2002

Streamlining Review of Pipeline Repair Projects

Interagency Agreement Implementation Plan 2002

Natural Gas Interagency Guidance Memo

Natural Gas
Interagency MOU

Guidance FERC Staff NEPA Pre-filing Process for Natural Gas Projects

Energy Act 2005
Pilot Project MOU

Regulations Implementing the Energy Policy Act of 2005;
Coordinating the Processing of Federal Authorizations for Applications under
Sections 3
and 7 of the Natural Gas Act and Maintaining a Complete Consolidated Record

MOU Of Understanding between the Departments of Energy, Defense, Agriculture, and Interior Regarding Energy Right-of-Way Corridors on Federal Lands February 2006

MOU Of Understanding on Early Coordination of Federal Authorizations and Related Environmental Reviews Required in Order to Site Electric Transmission Facilities August 8, 2006


Last updated: April 29, 2013
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation
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