The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the natural gas pipeline facilities proposed by Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company (WBI), the Grasslands Pipeline Project, in the above-referenced docket.
The FEIS 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 FEIS also evaluates alternatives to the proposal, including a system alternative; 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 FEIS 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 FEIS 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 FEIS 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 Manning Compressor Station in Dunn County, North Dakota;
- Approximately 28 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline loop  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, 6 cathodic protection units, 8 pig launchers/receivers, 5 metering stations, and 3 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.
The FEIS 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.
Copies of the FEIS have been mailed to Federal, state and local agencies, public interest groups, individuals who have requested the FEIS, newspapers, and parties to this proceeding. Start Printed Page 25871
In accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, no agency decision on a proposed action may be made until 30 days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes a notice of availability of an FEIS. However, the CEQ regulations provide an exception to this rule when an agency decision is subject to a formal internal appeal process which allows other agencies or the public to make their views known. In such cases, the agency decision may be made at the same time the notice of the FEIS is published, allowing both periods to run concurrently. The Commission decision for this proposed action is subject to a 30-day rehearing period.
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 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.
In addition, the Commission now offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you too keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries and direct links to the documents. Go to http://www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm.Start Signature
Magalie R. Salas,
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.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 03-12008 Filed 5-13-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P