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Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company; Notice of Availability of and Public Comment Meetings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Grasslands Project

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble January 24, 2003.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the natural gas pipeline facilities proposed by Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company (WBI) in the above referenced docket.

The DEIS was prepared to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The staff concludes that approval of the proposed project, with the appropriate mitigating measures as recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact. The DEIS also evaluates alternatives to the proposal, including system alternatives, major route alternatives, and route variations.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is participating as a cooperating agency in the preparation of this DEIS because the project would cross Federal land under the jurisdiction of two field offices in Wyoming and Montana. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS) is also a cooperating agency in the preparation of this document because the Little Missouri National Grasslands would be crossed by the project. The DEIS will be used by the BLM to consider issuance of a right-of-way grant for the portion of the project on all Federal lands.

The DEIS addresses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the following facilities:

  • Approximately 223 miles of new 16-inch-diameter pipeline from near Belle Creek, Montana, to the proposed Start Printed Page 4773Manning Compressor Station in Dunn County, North Dakota;
  • Approximately 28 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline loop [1] adjacent to WBI's existing Bitter Creek supply lateral pipeline in Wyoming;
  • Maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) upgrade on approximately 28 miles of existing 8-inch-diameter Bitter Creek supply lateral pipeline in Wyoming from 1,203 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) to 1,440 psig, and abandonment in-place of segments of existing pipe at three road crossings and replacement with heavier walled pipe;
  • MAOP upgrade on approximately 40 miles of existing 8-inch-diameter Recluse-Belle Creek supply lateral pipeline in Wyoming and Montana from 1,203 psig to 1,440 psig, and abandonment in-place of segments of existing pipe at eight road crossings and replacement with heavier walled pipe;
  • 4,180 horsepower (hp) of gas fired compression (comprised of two 2,090 hp compressors) at one new compressor station located in Dunn County, North Dakota (Manning Compressor Station), and electric coolers installation at this station;
  • An additional transmission compressor unit (1,200 hp) at the existing Cabin Creek Compressor Station in Fallon County, Montana;
  • 0.9 mile of 12-inch-diameter pipeline from the proposed mainline to the existing Cabin Creek Compressor Station in Fallon County, Montana;
  • 1.0 mile of 16-inch-diameter pipeline from the proposed Manning Compressor Station to interconnect with Northern Border Pipeline Company's Compressor Station 5 in Dunn County, North Dakota; and
  • Various additional facilities, including 14 mainline valves, 4 cathodic protection units, 8 pig launchers/receivers, 5 metering stations, and 2 regulators.

The purpose of the proposed facilities would be to provide an additional outlet for the increased production of natural gas in the Powder River Basin, allowing transportation of about 80 million cubic feet per day of natural gas; provide access to WBI's storage facilities to shippers of gas produced in the Powder River Basin and elsewhere; and provide access to and from WBI's storage facilities to and from the facilities of Northern Border Pipeline Company for delivery to Midwestern and other national markets.

Comment Procedures and Public Meeting

Any person wishing to comment on the DEIS may do so. To ensure consideration prior to a Commission decision on the proposal, it is important that we receive your comments before the date specified below. 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 comments to: 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 Branch 1, PJ11.1;
  • Reference Docket No. CP02-37-000; and
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before March 17, 2003.

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 strongly 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.”

In addition to or in lieu of sending written comments, the FERC invites you to attend the public meetings the staff will conduct in the project area to receive comments on the DEIS. All meetings will begin at 7 p.m., and are scheduled as follows:

Date/Location

Monday, March 3, 2003—Travelodge Hotel, 532 15th St. W., Dickinson, North Dakota, (701) 483-5600

Tuesday, March 4, 2003—Fallon County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Baker, Montana, (406) 778-2451

Wednesday, March 5, 2003—Tower West Lodge, 109 N U.S. Highway 14/16, Gillette, Wyoming, (307) 686-2210

Interested groups and individuals are encouraged to attend and present oral comments on the DEIS. Transcripts of the meetings will be prepared.

After these comments are reviewed, any significant new issues are investigated, and modifications are made to the DEIS, a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be published and distributed by the staff. The FEIS will contain the staff's responses to timely comments filed on the DEIS.

Comments will be considered by the Commission but will not serve to make the commentor a party to the proceeding. Any person seeking to become a party to the proceeding must file a motion to intervene pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedures (18 CFR 385.214).

Anyone may intervene in this proceeding based on this DEIS. You must file your request to intervene as specified above.[2] You do not need intervenor status to have your comments considered.

The DEIS has been placed in the public files of the FERC and is available for public inspection at: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Reference and Files Maintenance Branch, 888 First Street, NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8371.

A limited number of copies of the DEIS are available from the Public Reference and Files Maintenance Branch identified above. In addition, copies of the DEIS have been mailed to Federal, state and local agencies, public interest groups, individuals who have requested the DEIS, newspapers, and parties to this proceeding.

Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at 1-866-208-FERC or on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov) using the FERRIS link. Click on the FERRIS link, enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field. Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance with FERRIS, the FERRIS helpline can be reached at 1-866-208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659 or at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The FERRIS link on the FERC Internet Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

Information concerning the involvement of the BLM is available from Dalice Landers, Realty Specialist and Project Lead at (406) 233-2836. Information concerning the involvement of the USFS is available from Tina Start Printed Page 4774Thornton, Realty Specialist and Project Lead at (701) 225-5151.

Start Signature

Magalie R. Salas,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  A loop is a segment of pipeline that is usually 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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2.  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. 03-2231 Filed 1-29-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P