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Notice

Cross Bay Pipeline Company, L.L.C. and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Cross Bay Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble September 14, 2000.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Cross Bay Project involving the transfer, construction and operation of facilities by Cross Bay Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (Cross Bay) and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation (Transco) in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, New Jersey and Queens and Nassau Counties, New York.[1] These facilities would consist of about 37 miles of pipeline, a meter and regulator station, and 16,000 horsepower (hp) of compression. This EA will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

If you are a landowner receiving this notice, you may be contacted by a pipeline company representative about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The pipeline company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the project is approved by the Commission, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings in accordance with state law.

A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” was attached to the project notice Cross Bay provided to landowners. This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is available for viewing on the FERC Internet website (www.ferc.fed.us).

Summary of the Proposed Project

Cross Bay proposes to expand the capacity of facilities in New Jersey and New York to transport an additional 125,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas to KeySpan Energy Delivery New York and KeySpan Energy Delivery Long Island. Cross Bay proposes to:

  • Acquire, hydrostatic test, and replace sections of 3.27 miles of Transco's 42-inch-diameter Cross Bay Extension in Middlesex County, New Jersey;
  • Acquire and uprate by hydrostatic testing 33.66 miles of Transco's 26-inch-diameter Cross Bay Extension crossing Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, New Jersey and Queens and Nassau Counties, New York;
  • Acquire Transco's Morgan and Long Beach Meter Stations in Middlesex County, New Jersey and Nassau County, New York, respectively; andStart Printed Page 56884
  • Construct and operate a 16,000-horsepower Cross Bay Compressor Station and Cross Bay Meter Station at the same location in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

The applicants also request the abandonment of Transco's pipeline facilities by transfer to Cross Bay. The location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.[2]

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the proposed facilities would require about 49.9 acres of land. Following construction, about 11.5 acres would be maintained as new aboveground facility sites. The remaining 38.4 acres of land would be restored and allowed to revert to its former use.

The EA Process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. We [3] call this “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this Notice of Intent, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues it will address in the EA. All comments received are considered during the preparation of the EA. State and local government representatives are encouraged to notify their constituents of this proposed action and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

The EA will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:

  • Geology and soils
  • Water resources, fisheries, and wetlands
  • Vegetation and wildlife
  • Endangered and threatened species
  • Land use
  • Cultural resources
  • Air quality and noise
  • Public safety

We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

Our independent analysis of the issues will be in the EA. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, the EA may be published and mailed to Federal, state, and local agencies, public interest groups, interested individuals, affected landowners, newspapers, libraries, and the Commission's official service list for this proceeding. A comment period will be allotted for review if the EA is published. We will consider all comments on the EA before we make our recommendations to the Commission.

To ensure your comments are considered, please carefully follow the instructions in the public participation section below.

Public Participation

You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. By becoming a commentor, your concerns will be addressed in the EA and considered by the Commission. You should focus on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, alternatives to the proposal (including alternative locations), and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impact. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. Please carefully follow these instructions to ensure that your comments are received in time and properly recorded:

  • Send two copies of your letter to: David P. Boergers, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St., N.E., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
  • Label one copy of the comments for the attention of Gas 1.
  • Reference Docket No. CP00-412-000.
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before October 16, 2000.

Becoming an Intervenor

In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an official party to the proceeding known as an “intervenor”. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process. Among other things, intervenors have the right to receive copies of case-related Commission documents and filings by other intervenors. Likewise, each intervenor must provide 14 copies of its filings to the Secretary of the Commission and must send a copy of its filings to all other parties on the Commission's service list for this proceeding. If you want to become an intervenor you must file a motion to intervene according to Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214) (see appendix 2). Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision.

Affected landowners and parties with environmental concerns may be granted intervenor status upon showing good cause by stating that they have a clear and direct interest in this proceeding which would not be adequately represented by any other parties. You do not need intervenor status to have your environmental comments considered.

Additional information about the proposed project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at 208-0004 or on the FERC website (www.ferc.fed.us) using the “RIMS” link to information in this docket number. Click on the “RIMS” link, select “Docket #” from the RIMS Menu, and follow the instructions. For assistance with access to RIMS, the RIMS helpline can be reached at (202) 208-2222.

Similarly, the “CIPS“ link on the FERC Internet website provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices and rulemakings. From the FERC Internet website, click on the “CIPS” link, select “Docket #” from the CIPS menu, and follow the instructions. For assistance with access to CIPS, the CIPS helpline can be reached at (202) 208-2474.

Start Signature

Linwood A. Watson, Jr.,

Acting Secretary,

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  Cross Bay's application was filed with the Commission under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations.

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2.  The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed in the Federal Register. Copies are available from the Commission's Public Reference and Files Maintenance Branch, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 208-1371. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail.

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3.  “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Office of Energy Projects.

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[FR Doc. 00-24091 Filed 9-19-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-M