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Notice

Letter of Recommendation, Proposed LNG Project Northern Star Natural Gas LLC, Bradwood, Clatsop County, OR

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Request for comments; notice of public meeting.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the requirements in 33 CFR 127.009, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Portland, Oregon is preparing a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) as to the suitability of the Columbia River for liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine traffic. This LOR will encompass the marine safety and security aspects associated with the proposed Northern Star Natural Gas LLC (Northern Star) LNG facility. The LOR is in response to a Letter of Intent (LOI) submitted by Northern Star to operate an LNG facility in Bradwood, Clatsop County, Oregon. Because the proposed LNG facility would be located in state waters, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead Federal agency for this proposed project. The COTP Portland, OR is soliciting written comments and related material, and will join FERC in holding a public meeting seeking comments, pertaining specifically to maritime safety and security aspects of the proposed LNG facility. In preparation for issuance of an LOR and the completion of certain other regulatory mandates, the COTP Portland, OR, will consider comments received from the public as input into a formalized risk assessment process. This process will assess the safety and security aspects of the facility, adjacent port areas, and navigable waterways.

DATES:

All written comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before October 6, 2005. In addition, a public meeting will be held Thursday, September 29, 2005 at 7 p.m. Those who plan to speak at the meeting should provide their name by September 22, 2005 to Lieutenant Shadrack Scheirman using one of the methods listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The comment period associated with the public meeting will remain open for seven days following the meeting. The meeting location is: Knappa High School, 41535 Old Highway 30, Astoria, OR 97102, 503-458-6166.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit written comments to Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Portland. Sector Portland maintains a file for this notice. Comments and material received will become part of this file and will be available for inspection and copying at Sector Portland between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this notice, contact Lieutenant Shadrack Scheirman at Sector Portland by one of the methods listed below:

(1) Phone at (503) 247-4015

(2) E-mail at Shadrack.L.Scheirman@uscg.mil

(3) Fax to (503) 240-2586

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Request for Written Comments

We encourage you to submit written comments and related material pertaining specifically to marine safety and security aspects associated with the proposed Northern Star LNG facility. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this notice ([CGD13-05-017]), and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your comments and related material by mail, or hand delivery, as described in ADDRESSES, or you may send them by fax or e-mail using the contact information under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. To avoid confusion and duplication, please Start Printed Page 53678submit your comments and material by only one means.

If you submit comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached U.S. Coast Guard Sector Portland, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.

Public Meeting

Due to the scope and complexity of this project, we have decided to hold a joint public meeting with FERC to allow the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed LNG facility. FERC will issue a separate notice for the public meeting listed under DATES above, regarding the public's opportunity to comment on the environmental aspects of the facility siting.

With advance notice, organizations and members of the public may provide oral statements regarding the suitability of the Columbia River for LNG vessel traffic. In the interest of time and use of the public meeting facility, oral statements should be limited to five minutes. Persons wishing to make oral statements should notify Lieutenant Shadrack Scheirman using one of the methods listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by September 22, 2005. Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or to the Docket up to October 6, 2005.

Background and Purpose

In accordance with the requirements of 33 CFR 127.007, Northern Star submitted an LOI on March 16, 2005, to operate an LNG facility in Bradwood, Clatsop County, Oregon.

FERC will be the lead agency for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To help FERC make sure that the EIS covers the Coast Guard's LOR and other actions under this proposal, the Coast Guard will serve as a cooperating agency.

The proposed terminal is an LNG import, storage, and re-gasification facility. LNG carriers (ships) would berth at a new pier and LNG would be transferred by pipeline from the carriers to one of three storage tanks, each with a net capacity of 165,000 cubic meters (m3). The LNG would then be re-gasified and metered into natural gas pipelines. LNG would be delivered to the terminal in double-hulled LNG carriers ranging in capacity from 100,000 m3 to 250,000 m3. The larger carriers would measure up to approximately 965 feet long with up to approximately a 150 foot wide beam, and draw 40 feet of water. The Northern Star Natural Gas terminal would handle approximately 96 vessels per year, depending upon natural gas demand, and carrier size, with shipments arriving about every four days.

The U.S. Coast Guard exercises regulatory authority over LNG facilities which affect the safety and security of port areas and navigable waterways under Executive Order 10173, the Magnuson Act (50 U.S.C. 191), the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1221, et seq.) and the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (46 U.S.C. 701). The Coast Guard is responsible for matters related to navigation safety, vessel engineering and safety standards, and all matters pertaining to the safety of facilities or equipment located in or adjacent to navigable waters up to the last valve immediately before the receiving tanks. The Coast Guard also has authority for LNG facility security plan review, approval, and compliance verification as provided in title 33 CFR part 105, and recommendation for siting as it pertains to the management of vessel traffic in and around the LNG facility.

Upon receipt of an LOI from an owner or operator intending to build a new LNG facility, the Coast Guard COTP conducts an analysis that results in a letter of recommendation issued to the owner or operator and to the state and local governments having jurisdiction, addressing the suitability of the waterway to accommodate LNG vessels. Specifically, the letter of recommendation addresses the suitability of the waterway based on:

  • The physical location and layout of the facility and its berthing and mooring arrangements.
  • The LNG vessels' characteristics and the frequency of LNG shipments to the facility.
  • Commercial, industrial, environmentally sensitive, and residential areas in and adjacent to the waterway used by the LNG vessels en route to the facility.
  • Density and character of marine traffic on the waterway.
  • Bridges or other manmade obstructions in the waterway.
  • Depth of water.
  • Tidal range.
  • Natural hazards, including rocks and sandbars.
  • Underwater pipelines and cables.
  • Distance of berthed LNG vessels from the channel, and the width of the channel.

In addition, the Coast Guard will review and approve the facility's operations manual and emergency response plan (33 CFR 127.019), as well as the facility's security plan (33 CFR 105.410).

The Coast Guard will also provide input to other Federal, State, and local government agencies reviewing the project. Under an interagency agreement, the Coast Guard will provide input to, and coordinate with FERC, the lead Federal agency for authorizing the siting and construction of onshore LNG facilities, on safety and security aspects of the Northern Star project, including both the marine and land-based aspects of the project.

In order to complete a thorough analysis and fulfill the regulatory mandates cited above, the COTP Portland, OR, will be conducting a formal risk assessment, evaluating various safety and security aspects associated with Northern Star's proposed project. This risk assessment will be accomplished through a series of workshops focusing on the areas of waterways safety, port security, and consequence management, with involvement from a broad cross-section of government and port stakeholders with expertise in each of the respective areas. The workshops will be by invitation only. However, comments received during the public comment period will be considered as input into the risk assessment process.

Additional Information

Additional information about the project is available from the FERC's Office of External Affairs at 1-866-208 FERC (3372) or on the FERC Internet Web site (http://www.ferc.gov). Using the “eLibrary” link, select “General Search” from the eLibrary menu, enter the selected date range and the FERC's Docket Number PF05-10, and follow the instructions. Searches may also be done using the phrases “Northern Star” or “Bradwood Landing LNG” in the “Text Search” field. For assistance with access to eLibrary, the helpline can be reached at 1 866 208 3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. The eLibrary 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 rule makings.

Northern Star has also established an Internet Web site for its project at http://www.Northernstar-NG.com. The Web site includes a project overview, contact information, regulatory overview, and construction procedures.

For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities, or to request assistance at the meeting, contact Lieutenant Shadrack Scheirman listed under FOR Start Printed Page 53679FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT as soon as possible.

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Dated: August 30, 2005.

Patrick G. Gerrity,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port.

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[FR Doc. 05-17833 Filed 9-8-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P