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Notice

Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Sayre Nominated Storage Service 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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Start Preamble November 10, 2004.

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 Sayre Nominated Storage Service Project (Sayre), proposed by Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (Natural). Start Printed Page 67725The Project would include abandonment of natural gas pipeline and construction and operation of additional facilities in Beckham County, Oklahoma.[1] 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 Natural 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 (http://www.ferc.gov).

Summary of the Proposed Project

Natural seeks authority to increase its peak day withdrawal level at Sayre from 400 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/day) to 600 MMcf/day and the maximum working gas capacity at Sayre in Beckham County, Oklahoma, from 51.1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) to 57.1 Bcf. This would be accomplished by drilling 22 new injection/withdrawal wells, adding 8.3 miles of pipeline, and installing 2 new compressor units (inside Natural's existing Compressor Station 184) with a total rating of 8,285 horsepower. Natural also proposes to abandon by removal and in place, about 1.1 miles of natural gas pipeline.

The location of the project facilities is shown in Appendix 1.[2]

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the facilities (including access roads) would affect about 162.7 acres of land. Of this, about 110 acres would revert to previous use while the rest would be maintained for operation of the facilities. The acreage affected includes the 1.1 mile of natural gas pipeline that would be abandoned. Natural would use a 100-foot-wide right-of-way during construction of its new pipeline, and subsequently maintain a 50-foot-wide permanent right-of-way. The construction right-of-way would be expanded at special work areas (e.g., pipeline crossing of the North Fork of the Red River and road crossings).

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 [3] 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.

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.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

We have already identified issues (noise impacts on nearby residents, threatened and endangered species, and land use) that we think deserve our attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by Natural. Issues we consider may change based on your comments and our analysis.

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 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 1.
  • Reference Docket No. CP05-7-000.
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before December 11, 2004.

Please note that 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. Prepare your submission in the same manner as you would if filing on paper and save it to a file on your hard drive. Before you can file comments, you will need to create an account by clicking on “login to file” and then “New User Account.” You will be asked to select the type of filing you are making. This filing is considered a “comment on filing.”

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 send one electronic copy (using the Commission's e-Filing system) or 14 paper 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 Start Printed Page 67726Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214, see appendix 2).[4] 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 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.

Availability of Additional Information

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 assistance, contact FERCOnline Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, or call toll-free (866) 208-3676 or TTY 202-502-8659. 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.

Start Signature

Magalie R. Salas,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  Natural'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.  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 and Files Maintenance Branch, 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.

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

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4.  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. E4-3251 Filed 11-18-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P