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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

On behalf of El Paso Natural Gas Company, LLC (EPNG), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey on a portion of the proposed 17.0-mile-long (27.4- kilometer [km]) EPNG Mainline Expansion Project (Project) that crosses public lands administered by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and the Clint Independent School District (CISD) in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties, Texas. Investigations were conducted in support of EPNG’s filing of a standard 7c application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The 17-mile proposed project is one component of a larger project that includes construction in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Project activities would occur at three distinct locations along the EPNG’s existing South Mainline system including construction and operation of a new 17-mile-long loop line and construction and operation of two new compressor stations. In Texas, the proposed project consists of the construction of an approximate 17-mile, 30-inch outside diameter loop line extension in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties, Texas. This report addresses only the portions of the 17-mile loop extension on Texas public lands.

The public lands component of the project includes 1.85 miles of 300-foot-wide corridor (67.3 acres) on three GLO properties (i.e., parcels 0003.000.00.00-HU-TX, 0004.000.00.00-HU-TX, and 0125.000.00.00-EP-TX) and 0.15 mile of 300-foot-wide corridor (5.5 acres) on one CISD property (parcel 0064.000.00.00-EP-TX). Cultural resources investigations were conducted on the public lands to comply with the Antiquities Code of Texas, as the agencies administering those lands are political subdivisions of the State of Texas. Additionally, as the project is subject to FERC review and the project may cross waters of the U.S. under jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, work was performed in support of EPNG’s compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108) and its implementing regulations (36 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 800).

Impacts associated with the construction of the pipeline will occur within a variable width construction right-of-way (ROW) measuring 60 feet wide in residential areas and 180 feet wide in dunal areas, but averaging 90 feet wide. For the 2.0 miles of cultural resources survey on public lands, SWCA investigated a 300-foot-wide corridor to give EPNG options for the ultimate centerline placement. The anticipated typical depth of construction impacts is approximately 6 feet below ground surface, although, in dunal areas, the depth of impacts will be approximately 9 feet; however, subsurface impacts are anticipated to extend up to 12 feet below ground surface via subsurface bores to avoid impacts to areas with existing infrastructure and drainages. The project area of potential effects (APE) on public lands consists of approximately 10,500 feet (2.0 miles) of 300-foot-wide survey corridor encompassing 72.7 acres, which includes 7.3 acres of permanent 30-foot-wide ROW and 12.1 acres of construction corridor. Included within the 300-foot-wide survey corridor are proposed access roads for the project that consist of existing 15- to 25-foot-wide gravel access roads for several previously constructed pipelines that parallel the current APE.

Investigations included a cultural resources background review and literature search of the APE and an intensive pedestrian survey of the APE augmented with shovel testing. SWCA’s background review indicated that 11 previous cultural resources surveys have been conducted within a 1-mile radius of the APE. Seven of the 11 previously surveyed project areas intersect the APE or are adjacent to (within 300 feet of) the APE; the remainder of the previous survey areas are within the 1-mile buffer, but due to their distance to the APE, will not be traversed by the planned construction. None of the seven previous cultural surveys intersect or are adjacent to the four public land parcels discussed in this report.

The review also indicates that 40 previously recorded archaeological sites are within a 1-mile buffer of the APE; however, only four sites (i.e., 41EP868, 41EP4768, 41EP5490, and 41HZ234) appear to be intersected by, or within 300 feet of, the APE. None of these four sites are located within any of the public lands. The closest previous site to a public land parcel is 41HZ234, which is located just within the northern boundary of the 300-foot-wide survey corridor but is several hundred feet outside the northern boundary of parcel 0004.000.00.00-HU-TX on private property. Because of the current survey effort, SWCA recorded one new archaeological site (41HZ803). Owing to the paucity or commonality of recovered assemblages, lack of features, lack of unique character, and/or lack of contextual integrity, this resource possesses negligible research value and is unlikely to contribute new or important information regarding local and/or regional prehistory. Consequently, no further work is recommended for 41HZ803.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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