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 subject to the statutory exemption for “Specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency” (Emergency Project; Pub. Resources Code, §21080, subd. (b)(4)) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Pub. Resources Code, §21000 et seq.). “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 purpose of the Project is to repair two approximately 50-foot sections of high-pressure gas pipeline to prevent pipeline failure. Southern California Gas Company provided the following information regarding the urgent nature of this Project:
• Line 225 (around MP 3.28, south of L7200) is the major transmission line to supply San Joaquin Valley communities from Coles Levee to Visalia. A rupture on L225 at this location would impact ability to supply gas to these communities, and loss of customer service, including residential customers. Gas supply from Honor Rancho would be cut off. Regional impacts likely.
• Line 85 (around MP 49.9; between Avenal and Cross Valley Station) would not be able to supply gas to the San Joaquin Valley within Visalia, Hanford, Lemoore communities, nor from producers. We have taken L85 out of service before, and it required curtailment of electric generators in Kingsburg, Hanford, and Lemoore. If it were to rupture during the winter months, it could cause even more impacts. PG&E can help support, but they also have to serve their own customers first. Regional impacts likely.
The Project constitutes an emergency measure which is required for immediate health and human safety.
Prior to excavation activities, approx. three to four potholes will be hand dug to identify the location of the pipeline. Excavation of an approximately 70-foot long by 15-foot wide by ten foot deep trench will be required to expose the underground gas line. Once exposed, the pipeline will be abated, removing asbestos-containing material, and cleaned of dirt and debris to prepare the surface for recoating. The exposed pipeline segment will then be recoated with fusion-bonded epoxy or similar material. Next, approx. four interference anodes will be installed adjacent to the pipeline. The anodes will be attached to the pipe via three #8 wires and connected to a Fink Head Test Station, a small metal-plated terminal used for monitoring electric currents and potential, or similar equipment. The trench will then be backfilled with either the native excavated spoils or clean fill as needed, returning the temporary disturbance area to pre-project condition. The Project is expected to cause the temporary loss of 0.451 acre of habitat for the Covered Species.
Impacts will be minimized and fully mitigated through the implementation of measures required by Incidental Take Permit No. 2081 2021 007 04. Measures include: 1) Weekly Compliance Reports; 2) establishment of avoidance zones; 3) worker education; 4) species relocation; and 5) permanent habitat protection.