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Notice

Neptune LNG, L.L.C., Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port License Application; Preparation of Environmental Impact Statement

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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; Maritime Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of intent; notice of public meeting; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) announce that the Coast Guard intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) as part of the environmental review of this license application. The application describes a project that would be located in the Federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf in Blocks NK 19-04 6525 and NK 19-04 6575, approximately 22 miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts, and approximately 7 miles south-southeast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Publication of this notice begins a scoping process that will help identify and determine the scope of environmental issues to be addressed in the EIS. This notice requests public participation in the scoping process and provides information on how to participate.

DATES:

A public meeting will be held in Boston, MA on November 2, 2005. There will also be a public meeting in Gloucester, MA on November 3, 2005. Both meetings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will be preceded by an informational open house from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The public meetings may end later than the stated time, depending on the number of persons wishing to speak.

A portion of the public meeting will be conducted by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs in compliance with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. That meeting will be noticed separately in the Massachusetts Journal.

Material submitted in response to the request for comments for the scoping process must reach the Docket Management Facility by November 18, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

The public meeting in Boston will be held at: Faneuil Hall in Boston, MA-1 Faneuil Hall Square, 2nd floor meeting hall, Phone: (617) 635-3105. The public meeting in Gloucester will be at: Gloucester High School, Auditorium, 32 L.O. Johnson Rd, Gloucester, MA, Phone: (978) 281-9870.

Address docket submissions for USCG-2005-22611 to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

The Docket Management Facility accepts hand-delivered submissions, and makes docket contents available for public inspection and copying at this address, in room PL-401, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Facility's telephone is 202-366-9329, its fax is 202-493-2251, and its Web site for electronic submissions or for electronic access to docket contents is http://dms.dot.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Roddy Bachman, U.S. Coast Guard, telephone: 202-267-1752, e-mail: rbachman@comdt.uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone: 202-493-0402.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Meeting and Open House

We invite you to learn about the proposed deepwater port at an informational open house, and to comment at a public meeting on environmental issues related to the proposed deepwater port. Your comments will help us identify and refine the scope of the environmental issues to be addressed in the EIS.

In order to allow everyone a chance to speak at the public meeting, we may limit speaker time, or extend the meeting hours, or both. You must identify yourself, and any organization you represent, by name. Your remarks will be recorded or transcribed for inclusion in the public docket.

You may submit written material at the public meeting, either in place of or in addition to speaking. Written material must include your name and address, and will be included in the public docket.

Public docket materials will be made available to the public on the Docket Management Facility's Docket Management System (DMS). See “Request for Comments” for information about DMS and your rights under the Privacy Act.

All our public meeting locations are wheelchair-accessible. If you plan to attend the open house or public meeting, and need special assistance such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodation, please notify the Coast Guard (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) at least 3 business days in advance. Include your contact information as well as information about your specific needs.

Request for Comments

We request public comments or other relevant information on environmental issues related to the proposed deepwater port. The public meeting is not the only opportunity you have to comment. In addition to or in place of attending a meeting, you can submit comments to the Docket Management Facility during the public comment period (see DATES). We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period.

Submissions should include:

  • Docket number USCG-2005-22611.
  • Your name and address.
  • Your reasons for making each comment or for bringing information to our attention.

Submit comments or material using only one of the following methods:

  • Electronic submission to DMS, http://dms.dot.gov.
  • Fax, mail, or hand delivery to the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES). Faxed or hand delivered submissions must be unbound, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, and suitable for copying and electronic scanning. If you mail your submission and want to know when it reaches the Facility, include a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.

Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the DMS Web site (http://dms.dot.gov), and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available on the DMS Web site, or the Department of Transportation Privacy Act Statement that appeared in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477).

You may view docket submissions at the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES), or electronically on the DMS Web site.

Background

Information about deepwater ports, the statutes, and regulations governing their licensing, and the receipt of the current application for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port appears at 70 FR 58729, October 7, 2005. The “Summary of the Application” from that publication is reprinted below for your convenience.Start Printed Page 61152

Consideration of a deepwater port license application includes review of the proposed deepwater port's natural and human environmental impacts. The Coast Guard is the lead agency for determining the scope of this review, and in this case the Coast Guard has determined that review must include preparation of an EIS. This notice of intent is required by 40 CFR 1508.22, and briefly describes the proposed action and possible alternatives and our proposed scoping process. You can address any questions about the proposed action, the scoping process, or the EIS to the Coast Guard project manager identified in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Proposed Action and Alternatives

The proposed action requiring environmental review is the Federal licensing of the proposed deepwater port described in “Summary of the Application” below. The alternatives to licensing the proposed port are: (1) Licensing with conditions (including conditions designed to mitigate environmental impact), and (2) denying the application, which for purposes of environmental review is the “no-action” alternative.

Scoping Process

Public scoping is an early and open process for identifying and determining the scope of issues to be addressed in the EIS. Scoping begins with this notice, continues through the public comment period (see DATES), and ends when the Coast Guard has completed the following actions:

  • Invites the participation of Federal, State, and local agencies, any affected Indian tribe, the applicant, and other interested persons;
  • Determines the actions, alternatives, and impacts described in 40 CFR 1508.25;
  • Identifies and eliminates from detailed study those issues that are not significant or that have been covered elsewhere;
  • Allocates responsibility for preparing EIS components;
  • Indicates any related environmental assessments or environmental impact statements that are not part of the EIS;
  • Identifies other relevant environmental review and consultation requirements;
  • Indicates the relationship between timing of the environmental review and other aspects of the application process; and
  • At its discretion, exercises the options provided in 40 CFR 1501.7(b).

Once the scoping process is complete, the Coast Guard will prepare a draft EIS, and we will publish a Federal Register notice announcing its public availability. (If you want that notice to be sent to you, please contact the Coast Guard project manager identified in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.) You will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft EIS. The Coast Guard will consider those comments and then prepare the final EIS. As with the draft EIS, we will announce the availability of the final EIS and once again give you an opportunity for review and comment.

Summary of the Application

Neptune LNG, L.L.C. proposes to construct, own and operate a deepwater port, named Neptune, in the Federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf on blocks NK 19-04 6525 and NK 19-04 6575, approximately 22 miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts, and approximately 7 miles south-southeast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, in a water depth of approximately 250 feet. The Neptune deepwater port would be capable of mooring up to two approximately 140,000 cubic meter capacity LNG carriers by means of a submerged unloading buoy system.

The LNG carriers, or shuttle regasification vessels (SRVs), would be equipped to store, transport and vaporize LNG, and to odorize and meter natural gas which would then be sent out by conventional subsea pipelines. Each SRV would have insulated storage tanks located within its hull. Each tank would be equipped with an in-tank pump to circulate and transfer LNG to the vaporization facilities located on the deck of the SRV. The proposed vaporization system would be closed-loop water-glycol, re-circulating heat exchangers heated by steam from boil-off gas/vaporized LNG-fired boilers.

The major fixed components of the proposed deepwater port would be an unloading buoy system, eight mooring lines consisting of wire rope and chain connecting to anchor points on the seabed, eight suction pile anchor points, approximately 2.5 miles of natural gas flow line with flexible pipe risers and risers manifolds, and approximately 11 miles of 24-inch natural gas transmission line with a hot tap and transition manifold to connect to the existing Algonquin HublineSM.

Neptune would have an average throughput capacity of 400 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) and a peak capacity of approximately 750 MMscfd. Natural gas would be sent out by means of two flexible risers and a subsea flowline leading to a 24-inch gas transmission line. These risers and flow line would connect the deepwater port to the existing 30-inch Algonquin HublineSM. No onshore components or storage facilities are associated with the proposed deepwater port application.

Construction of the deepwater port components would be expected to take 36 months, with a startup of commercial operations in late 2009. The deepwater port would be designed, constructed and operated in accordance with applicable codes and standards and would have an expected operating life of approximately 20 years.

In addition, pipelines within the three-mile limit require an Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Structures such as the moorings and lateral pipelines beyond the three-mile limit require a Section 10 permit.

As required by their regulations, the USACE will maintain a permit file. The USACE New England District phone number is 978-318-8338 and their Web site is http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. The new pipeline will be included in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review as part of the deepwater port application process. The USACE, as a cooperating agency, will assist in the NEPA process as described in 40 CFR 1501.6; will be participating in the scoping meetings; and will conduct joint public meetings with the Coast Guard and MARAD when the draft EIS is released for public comment. Comments sent to the USACE will also be incorporated into the DOT docket and EIS to ensure consistency with the NEPA Process.

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Dated: October 13, 2005.

Howard L. Hime,

Acting Director of Standards, Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection, U.S. Coast Guard.

H. Keith Lesnick,

Senior Transportation Specialist, Deepwater Ports Program Manager, U.S. Maritime Administration.

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[FR Doc. 05-21007 Filed 10-19-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P