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 2001 System Expansion and Capacity Stabilization Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company (Eastern Shore) in Chester County, Pennsylvania and Cecil County, Maryland. Eastern Shore would construct 6 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline loop, install two 1,665 horsepower (hp) compressor units at its Daleville Compressor Station, and construct a new delivery point/meter station. 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 Eastern Shore 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 also available for viewing on the FERC Internet website (www.ferc.fed.us).
Summary of the Proposed Project
Eastern Shore wants to expand the capacity of its facilities in Pennsylvania and Maryland to provide an additional 19,800 decatherms per day of firm capacity service for three local distribution companies. Eastern Shore seeks authority to construct and operate:
- 6 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline loop adjacent to an existing pipeline on its existing right-of-way in Chester County, Pennsylvania and Cecil County, Maryland;
- Two additional 1,665 hp compressor units at its Daleville Compressor Station in Chester County, Pennsylvania; and
- A new delivery point on Eastern Shore's existing mainline in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
The location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
The proposed project follows the existing Eastern Shore right-of-way (ROW) for 5.3 miles of the 6-mile project. Construction of the proposed facilities would affect about 55.4 acres of land. About 22.7 acres of existing permanent easement and 28.7 acres of temporary construction ROW would be necessary for pipeline construction. New compressor station facilities would require an additional 3.9 acres at the existing site. Construction of the meter station would require about 0.1 acre.
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 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 Start Printed Page 8218government 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
- Cultural resources
- Public safety
- Land use
- Endangered and threatened species
- Air quality and noise
- Hazardous waste
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.
Currently Identified Environmental Issues
We have already identified several issues we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by Eastern Shore. This preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.
- Impacts to residents within 540 feet of construction, and impacts to agricultural areas.
- Effects from the addition of 3,330 hp of compression.
- Effects to wetlands, forested areas, and possible impacts to Federal and state-listed species.
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/routes), and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impact. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. Please follow these instructions carefully to ensure that your comments are received in time and properly recorded:
- Send an original and two copies of your letter to: David P. Boergers, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St. NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
- Label one copy of the comments for the attention of Gas Group, 1, PJ-11.1.
- Reference Docket No. CP01-65-000.
- Mail you comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before March 2, 2001.
Comments and protests may be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper. See, 18 CFR 385.2001)a(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's website at http://www.ferc.fed.us/efi/doorbell.htm under the link to the User's Guide. Before you can file comments you will need to create an account by clicking on “Login to File” and then “New User's Account.”
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.
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 (202) 208-1088 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.,
1. Eastern Shore's application was filed with the Commission under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations.Back to Citation
2. The appendices referenced in this notice are not being printed in the Federal Register. Copies are available on the Commission's website at the “RIMS” link or from the Commission's Public Reference and Files Maintenance Branch, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 208-1371. For instructions on connecting to RIMS refer to the last page of this notice. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail.Back to Citation
3. “We”, “us”, and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Office of Energy Projects (OEP).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 01-2553 Filed 1-29-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-M