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Notice

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Trenton Woodbury Expansion 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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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble May 24, 2002.

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 Trenton Woodbury Expansion Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Start Printed Page 38097Company/Williams (Transco) in Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.[1] These facilities would consist of about 7.2 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline loop; [2] one new lateral pipeline (about 2.5 miles in length, 24-inch-diameter pipe); and one new 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 Transco 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).

Summary of the Proposed Project

Transco wants to expand the capacity of its facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to transport an additional 51,037 dekatherms per day of natural gas to two shippers PECO Energy Company (PECO) and Virginia Power Energy Marketing, Inc./Dominion Energy (VPEM). Transco seeks authority to construct and operate:

  • 7.2 miles of 36-inch-diameter loop and appurtenant facilities from milepost (MP) 8.2 to MP 15.4 on Transco's existing Trenton Woodbury Line in Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey (Trenton Woodbury Loop);
  • 2.5 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline from a tap located near MP 17.5 on Transco's existing Trenton Woodbury Line in Burlington County, New Jersey, to a point of interconnect with the Fairless Energy Power Generation Plant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (Fairless Delivery Lateral); and
  • One new meter station at the Fairless Energy Power Generation Plant site in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.[3]

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the proposed facilities would require about 121.7 acres of land. Following construction, about 75.4 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 [4] to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “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 Transco. This preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified the potential for the Federally-protected bald eagle, bog turtle, and the endangered shortnose sturgeon to occur in the vicinity of the Fairless Lateral.
  • A total of 10.12 acres of wetlands, including 4.8 acres of forested, would be affected by construction of the proposed project.
  • The Trenton Woodbury Loop would cross five tracts of land designated and maintained as open space under the New Jersey Green Acres Program.
  • A total of 19 residences are located within 50 feet of the construction right-of-way along the proposed Trenton Woodbury Loop.

Also, Fairless Energy LLC is currently constructing a 1,180 megawatt combined cycle power plant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We have made a preliminary decision to not address the impacts of this nonjurisdictional facility. We will briefly describe the location and status in the EA.

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 Start Printed Page 38098environmental effects of the proposal, alternatives to the proposal (including alternative 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: Magalie R. Salas, 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 1 Branch.
  • Reference Docket No. CP02-204-000.
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before June 26, 2002.

Please note that we are continuing to experience delays in mail deliveries from the U.S. Postal Service. As a result, we will include all comments that we receive within a reasonable time frame in our environmental analysis of this project. However, the Commission encourages electronic filing of any comments or interventions or protests to this proceeding. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's web site at http://www.ferc.gov under the “e-Filing” link and the link to the User's Guide. Before you can file comments you will need to create a free account which can be created by clicking on “Login to File” and then “New User 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).[5] 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.

Environmental Mailing List

This notice is being sent to individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project. It is also being sent to all identified potential right-of-way grantors. By this notice we are also asking governmental agencies, especially those in appendix 3, to express their interest in becoming cooperating agencies for the preparation of the EA.

Additional Information

Additional information about the proposed project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at (202) 208-1088 (direct line) or you can call the FERC operator at 1-800-847-8885 and ask for External Affairs. Information is also available 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) 208-2222.

Start Signature

Magalie R. Salas,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  Transco'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.  A loop is a segment of pipeline installed adjacent to an existing pipeline and connected to it at both ends. The loop allows more gas to be moved through the system.

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3.  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.

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4.  “We”, “us”, and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Office of Energy Projects (OEP).

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5.  Interventions may also be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper. See the previous discussion on filing comments electronically.

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[FR Doc. 02-13658 Filed 5-30-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P