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 I-8 Uprate Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Algonquin Gas Transmission Company (Algonquin) in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. These facilities would consist of an uprate of about 2 miles of existing 16-inch-diameter pipeline, hydrostatic testing of these facilities, and installation of various remote control valves and regulator valves. 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.
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 Algonquin 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 Web site (www.ferc.gov).
Summary of the Proposed Project
Algonquin is requesting authorization to increase the maximum allowable operating pressure on about 2 miles of its existing 16-inch-diameter I-8 pipeline system located in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. The majority of the work would occur within the existing right-of-way and no new right-of-way would be required for the project. Algonquin seeks authority to:
- Conduct hydrostatic testing of the existing 16-inch-diameter I-8 pipeline (approximately two miles) between the existing Potter Street Meter Station and the East Braintree Meter Station located in Braintree, MA;
- Potter Street Meter Station—conduct hydrostatic testing of station piping, install temporary launcher/receiver assembly, and stage fractionalization tanks (frac tanks), in Braintree, MA for hydrostatic testing of the I-8 System. The frac tanks would be used during the discharge of hydrostatic test water to hold testwater prior to disposal;
- East Braintree Meter Station—install temporary launcher/receiver assembly and stage frac tanks in Braintree, MA for hydrostatic testing of the I-8 System. The frac tanks would be used during the discharge of hydrostatic test water to hold testwater prior to disposal;
- Q15 Valve Site—install a new regulator run, block valve, and related instrument control devices. Install one fiberglass shelter and expand the existing station fencing in Canton, MA; and
- I-11A Valve Site—install new regulator run, replace block valve, and install one fiberglass shelter and expand the existing station fencing in Dover, MA.
The location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.
Land Requirements for Construction
The project would require a total of about 0.95 acre to construct. The majority of the work and facility modifications would occur on lands owned or leased by Algonquin within the existing property boundaries at the aboveground facilities or within existing rights-of-way.Start Printed Page 32341
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. 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 staff requests public comments on the scope of the issues to 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.
In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:
- Land use;
- Cultural resources;
- Vegetation and wildlife;
- Public safety.
We will not discuss impacts to the following resource areas since they are not present in the project area, or would not be affected by the proposed facilities.
- Surface water, fisheries, and wetlands;
- Air quality and noise;
- Endangered and threatened species;
- 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 Algonquin. This preliminary list of issues may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.
- Two residences are located within 50 feet of the project area.
- About 0.95 acre of ground disturbance during construction.
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/EIS and considered by the Commission. You should focus on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, alternatives to the proposal, 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 Branch 2.
- Reference Docket No. CP04-314-000.
- Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before (July 2).
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 on-line.
We may mail the EA for comment. If you are interested in receiving it, 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 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
An effort is being made to send this notice to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project. This includes all landowners who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within distances defined in the Commission's regulations of certain aboveground facilities.
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 eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field. Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For Start Printed Page 32342assistance with eLibrary, the eLibrary helpline can be reached at 1-866-208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The eLibrary link 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 to 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.
Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.Start Signature
Magalie R. Salas,
1. Algonquin'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 of all appendices, other than appendix 1 (maps), are available on the Commission's Web site at the “eLibrary” link or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary 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. E4-1289 Filed 6-8-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P