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 Cunningham Service Expansion Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern) in Pratt County, Kansas. These facilities would consist of two reciprocating compressors rated at 3,550 horsepower (hp) each. This EA will be used by the Commission in its decisionmaking process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.
This notice announces the opening of the scoping period that will be used to gather environmental input from the public and interested agencies on the project. Please note that the scoping period will close on November 11, 2005.
This notice is being sent to potentially affected landowners; Federal, State, and Start Printed Page 60814local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; other interested parties; local libraries and newspapers. State and local government representatives are asked to notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.
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 Northern 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
Northern is seeking authorization to increase the certificated withdrawal and injection rates at the existing Cunningham Storage Field located in Pratt and Kingman Counties, Kansas by replacing two 2,400 hp reciprocating compressors with two new compressors rated at 3,550 hp each. Northern would also install associated valves and piping to connect the new units with existing station piping. Furthermore, Northern would use the additional horsepower to increase the certificated withdrawal rates (from 650 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) to 720 MMcf/d) and injection rates (from 500 MMcf/d to 545 MMcf/d) to provide the requested amount of firm deferred delivery (FDD) service. Northern indicates that the proposed facilities and the increase in withdrawal and injection rates are required to meet FDD service of 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas (Bcf) requested by shippers. Following installation of the proposed facilities, the certificated Cunningham Storage Field capacity would remain unchanged at 62 Bcf.
Northern contends that the modifications will cause minor ground disturbance outside of the compressor building to make the piping connections to the new units. No ground disturbance will occur outside of the existing compressor station yard. Because the work will generally take place within the existing compressor station building, additional land or work space will not be required for the project.
The location of the project facilities is shown in Appendix 1.
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.
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.
Currently Identified Environmental Issues
We have already identified one issue that we think deserves attention based on a preliminary review of the proposed facilities and the environmental information provided by Northern. This preliminary issue may be changed based on your comments and our analysis.
- The installation of additional compression may contribute to an increase in noise levels at nearby noise sensitive areas.
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 (including alternative locations), 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. CP05-411-000.
- Mail your comments so that they will be received in Washington, DC on or before November 11, 2005.
We will include all comments that we receive within a reasonable time frame in our environmental analysis of this project. To expedite our receipt and consideration of you comments, the Commission strongly encourages electronic submission of any comments or interventions or protests to this proceeding. See 18 Code of Federal Regulations (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 2). 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 Start Printed Page 60815eFiling 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 at the address indicated previously. 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 e-mail addresses may be served electronically; others must be served a hard copy of the filing.
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.
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.Start Signature
Magalie R. Salas,
1. Northern'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 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
[FR Doc. E5-5775 Filed 10-18-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P