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Notice

Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Weaver, Medina, and Coco Storage Field Well Abandonment Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

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Start Preamble July 27, 2005.

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 Weaver, Medina, and Coco Storage Field Well Abandonment Project involving abandonment of facilities by Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation (Columbia) in Richland and Medina Counties, Ohio and Kanawha County, West Virginia.[1] The project facilities would consist of plugging and abandonment of six gas storage wells and related appurtenances, abandonment in place of five segments of 3- and 4-inch-diameter pipeline totaling about 7,867 feet, and abandonment by removal of ten segments of 3- and 4-inch-diameter pipeline totaling 357 feet. 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 Columbia provided to affected Start Printed Page 44619landowners. 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

Columbia wants to perform the following abandonment-related activities in the following gas storage fields:

Weaver gas storage field in Richland County, Ohio

  • Plug and abandon the Weaver 3393 Well and abandon by removal a 23-foot-long segment of the 3-inch-diameter SL-W 3393 well pipeline and a 13-foot-long segment of 6-inch-diameter portion of the well pipeline, two blow-offs, and a 16-inch-diameter vertical drip, and install a blind plate at the tie-in valve;
  • Plug and abandon the Weaver 8560 Well and abandon by removal a 9-foot-long segment of the aboveground portion of the 3-inch-diameter SL-W 8560 pipeline and a tie-in valve, a 1-inch blow-off, a 16-inch-diameter vertical drip, and about 25 feet of the buried portion the SL-W 8560 pipeline; and
  • Plug and abandon the Weaver 8853 Well, abandon by removal two segments of the 3-inch-diameter aboveground SL-W 8853 pipeline totaling 30 feet, two 1-inch blow-offs, a 16-inch-diameter vertical drip, a farm tap, cut and cap the existing 3-inch-diameter well line and install a blind plate at the tie-in valve on Line SL-3390, and abandon in place about 592 feet of the 3-inch-diameter well line SL-W8853.

Medina gas storage field in Medina County, Ohio

  • Plug and abandon the Medina 10087 Well, abandon by removal two 1-inch blow-offs, a 16-inch-diameter vertical drip, about 14 feet of the aboveground portion of the 4-inch-diameter SL-W 10087 pipeline, about 20 feet of aboveground 3-inch-diameter section of the same pipeline, cut and cap the existing 3-inch-diameter portion of well line and install a blind plate at the tie-in valve, and abandon in place about 442 feet of the 4-inch-diameter portion of the well line.

Coco gas storage field in Kanawha County, West Virginia

  • Plug and abandon the Coco 7332 Well, abandon by removal a methanol tap, a meter building, about 100 feet of the 4-inch-diameter X52C-W 7332 pipeline, and abandon in place about 3,439 feet of the same pipeline; and
  • Plug and abandon the Coco 7334 Well, abandon by removal a methanol tap, a meter building, two drip tanks, a tie-in valve, about 123 feet of the 4-inch-diameter X52C-W 7334 pipeline, and abandon in place about 2,470 feet of the same pipeline.

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

Land Requirements for Construction

Abandonment of the proposed facilities would require about 15.2 acres of land for removal and capping of six storage wells, removal of short segments of well pipelines, and removal of associated aboveground appurtenant facilities. Following the abandonment activities the entire 15.2 acres would be allowed to revert to previous land uses or other land uses intended by the landowners.

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 [3] 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.
  • Land use.
  • Water resources, and wetlands.
  • Cultural resources.
  • Vegetation and wildlife.
  • Endangered and threatened species.

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 activities.

  • Fisheries.
  • 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 below.

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 3.
  • Reference Docket No. CP05-389-000.
  • Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before August 29, 2005.

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 Start Printed Page 44620 http://www.ferc.gov under the “Documents & Filing, 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, or “intervenor”. 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). Intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision. Motions to Intervene should be electronically submitted using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons without Internet access should send an original and 14 copies of their motion to the Secretary of the Commission. Persons filing Motions to Intervene on or before the comment deadline indicated above must send a copy of the motion to the Applicant. All filings, including late interventions, submitted after the comment deadline must be served on the Applicant and all other intervenors identified on the Commission's service list for this proceeding. Persons on the service list with email addresses may be served electronically.

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. By this notice we are also asking governmental agencies, especially those in Appendix 2, to express their interest in becoming cooperating agencies for the preparation of the EA.

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, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at 1-866-208-3676, or for TTY, contact (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.

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,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  Columbia's application was filed with the Commission under section 7(b) 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, 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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[FR Doc. E5-4177 Filed 8-2-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P