Type, Section or Code
California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 15269, subd. (b); Public Resources Code, section 21080, subd. (b)(4)
Reasons for Exemption
Approval of this Project is statutorily exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA, Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) because the Project is subject to California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 15269, subdivision (b), “Emergency repairs to publicly or privately owned service facilities necessary to maintain service essential to the public health, safety, or welfare” and Public Resources Code, section 21080, subdivision (b)(4), “Emergency repairs necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency”. “Emergency” is defined as “a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services” (Pub. Resources Code, § 21060.3).
The Project, as amended, includes the inspection and repair of the coating of two approximately 50 foot long segments of the 26-inch natural gas pipeline (Line) 85 located at Mile Post (MP) 75.75 and MP 75.94 where anomalies have been identified and the installation of an underground mainline valve and inline inspection activities. The repairs are needed urgently to protect the integrity and safety of the pipeline as well as to ensure service to natural gas customers is not impacted in winter of 2021. Additionally, repairs are needed urgently to reduce potential impacts to other pipelines in the vicinity of the California Aqueduct, and possibly to the California Aqueduct itself.
On September 22, 2021, the Permittee requested changes to the Project to extend the expiration date of the ITP from October 31, 2021, to March 31, 2022, in order to be able to complete the Project and to expand the MP 75.94 Work Area approximately 105 feet west of the original location, to accommodate additional work and improved access to the pipe. The revised Work Area will increase the total Project footprint by 0.13 acre. The trenches within both Work Areas will also be expanded to dimensions of 60-feet long by 10-feet wide by 12-feet deep. Finally, the pipe segments will be re-covered with 18 inches of zero-sack slurry, or wet sand, then windrowed native soil once repairs are complete. Because pre-Project ITP requirements including installation of exclusion fencing, Covered Species relocation, and burrow excavation have already occurred, this change will result in an increase in impacts to Covered Species habitat of 0.13 acre.
CDFW has determined that although this Amendment may result in an increase in take of the Covered Species and an increase in Covered Species habitat impacts, the additional impacts of the taking will be minimized and fully mitigated through implementation of the Conditions of Approval. Because the impacts will be minimized and fully mitigated, there will be no increase in Project impacts to the Covered Species with this Amendment. Impacts will be minimized and fully mitigated through the implementation of measures required by Incidental Take Permit No. 2081 2020 043 04, as amended. Measures include: 1) Monthly Compliance Reports; 2) establishment of avoidance zones; 3) worker education; and 4) permanent habitat protection.