Habitat Conservation Plan
Conducting business in an environmentally-conscious manner is not only good business; it is the right thing to do. Many of NiSource’s environmental programs, as well as other sustainable business practices, are outlined in our 2010 Sustainability Report.
With the assistance of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (the Service), NiSource developed a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which is currently under consideration by the Service following a public comment period. An HCP is an effective way for some companies – like natural gas pipeline companies – to proactively comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) while undergoing their normal course of business. More than 430 HCPs have been approved across the country, with many more in the planning stage.
The HCP is a legally binding document that would allow NiSource to repair, upgrade, replace and expand our pipeline infrastructure to deliver natural gas while enhancing conservation of species under the Endangered Species Act in a comprehensive, consistent and transparent manner.
The HCP will cover a one-mile wide corridor surrounding NiSource’s current right-of-way. Investigation and impact research/analysis has been done in advance, and the HCP outlines specific conservation measures and Best Management Practices to avoid or minimize incidental take of one of the 43 endangered species listed in the HCP during the approved activities.
We believe a comprehensive HCP will allow NiSource and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to use resources more efficiently while enhancing the conservation of threatened and endangered species. And it will streamline NiSource’s compliance with the ESA, therefore improving our focus on tangible conservation measures.
The NiSource HCP also establishes a conservation program that protects, restores and enhances habitat areas in and around our pipelines/facilities; monitors and reports on covered species populations; and avoids and minimizes impacts on species and their habitats.