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 Dracut Expansion Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (Tennessee) in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Tennessee proposes to replace approximately 11.9 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline with approximately 11.5 miles of 24-inch-diameter replacement pipeline and 0.4 mile of 16-inch-diameter replacement pipeline, and construct appurtentant facilities. 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 presence of an existing pipeline easement. The majority of the existing pipeline has an associated 30-foot-wide permanent right-of-way and the majority of the new pipeline would not require an expansion of permanent right-of-way. However, in several areas where deviations may be necessary, such as major roadway crossings or where removal would create additional environmental impacts, the existing pipeline would be abandoned in-place.
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 Tennessee 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.gov.) Start Printed Page 30183
Summary of the Proposed Project
Tennessee wants to uprate its existing pipeline system for the transportation of additional volumes of natural gas within the towns of Burlington, Billerica, Tweksbury, and Dracut, Massachusetts. Specifically, Tennessee seeks authority to:
- Replace approximately 11.5 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline with a 24-inch-diameter pipeline in Middlesex County, Massachusetts;
- Replace approximately 0.4 mile of 16-inch-diameter pipeline with a new 16-inch-diameter pipeline in Middlesex County, Massachusetts;
- Modify the existing Bedford Street Regulation Station in Burlington, Massachusetts; and
- Construct a new regulation station and pig launcher and receiver facilities in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.
The location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
Construction of the proposed facilities would require about 93.8 acres of land. The typical construction right-of-way would consist of the 30-foot-wide permanent right-of-way and between 25 and 60 feet of temporary workspace, but in certain areas, may be limited to the permanent 30-foot easement.
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 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
- Public safety
- Land use
- Cultural resources
- 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.
To ensure your comments are considered, please carefully follow the instructions in the public participation section below.'
Currently Identified Environmental Issues
We have already identified several issues that we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by Tennessee. This preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.
- The project would cross a total of 26 streams and 38 wetlands.
- Two federally listed endangered or threatened species and two state-protected species may occur in the project area.
- A total of 130 residences are located within 50 feet of the construction work area, of which 108 are within 25 feet of the construction area.
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 or routes), 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 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/Hydro.
- Reference Docket No. CP01-360-000.
- Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before July 2, 2001.
Comments, protests and interventions may also 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 web site at http://www.ferc.gov 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 Account.”
If you do not want to send comments at this time but still want to remain on our mailing list, please return the Information Request (appendix 3). If you do not return the Information Request, you will be taken off the mailing list.
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 Start Printed Page 30184intervenors 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 (202) 208-1088 or on the FERC website (www.ferc.gov) 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
David P. Boergers,
1. Tennessee'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
4. Interventions may also be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper. See the previous discussion on filing comments electronically.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 01-14010 Filed 6-4-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-M